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MHS Student Shares Insights On His Prize-Winning Poetry

Senior Anthony Doyle was among nine students at Manchester High School who on Wednesday learned they had received recognition for their creative writing skills in a variety of genres in the 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Anthony won a Gold Key in poetry for a submission that contained two poems: an Italian sonnet called "The Cycle of Sayings" and a pantoum called "Too Close.” As a regional Gold Key winner, his work will now be evaluated in the national competition.   

The complete list of winners is at the end of this story.

We asked Anthony to share the story behind his winning entries. His response:

When I first wrote "The Cycle of Sayings," I was thinking about sayings and idioms that arise from pop culture, the internet, and memes. I guess I was interested in how widespread they are in the peak of their popularity, and how quickly they are forgotten. An example of this is "epic fail." If I used "epic fail" in a conversion today, people would probably look at me strangely, but 6 or 7 years ago, it was everywhere. It is a strange, fleeting form of modern language. I edited the poem after I first wrote it and made it more universal and ambiguous, as I wanted it to be applicable to anything in our culture that we obsess over for a short period of time and then toss to the side. I think this poem is about fads in our culture, and how mindlessly we embrace them and then forget about them.

We wrote pantoums in class, and I really enjoyed the repetition of the lines, and how the writer has to make sure that the repeated lines will work within the next stanza. For "Too Close,” I was inspired by the woods behind my house. There are metal towers and power lines that rest over the trees. The poem details a bird that flies into a power line. I think this about the conflict between humanity and nature, or technology and nature, and how they cannot coexist peacefully.

I am thankful for Ms. Weinberg's support, as I probably would not have entered anything if she had not encouraged me to do so. My parents listened to my ideas and encouraged me as well.

In all, 20 pieces of writing were submitted to the national contest by 13 competing MHS authors.  The contributors, students in Creative Writing class or members of Papyrus & Quills (the after school creative writing club), showcase the creative writing opportunities available at Manchester High School.

According to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards website, students across America submitted 300,000 original works in art and writing during this year’s program year.

Here’s the complete list of MHS winners:

Seniors – Creative Writing Class

Anthony Doyle: Gold Key in Poetry, Honorable Mention in Poetry

MacKenzie Grant: Silver Key in Poetry

Sarah Klotzer: Silver Key in Poetry (2), Silver Key in Short Story, Honorable Mention in Short Story

Andrea Zemanek: Silver Key in Poetry

Andrew Gagne: Silver Key in Poetry

Sydney Phelps: Honorable Mention in Poetry


Juniors – Creative Writing Class

James Costa: Honorable Mention in Dramatic Script


Juniors – Papyrus & Quills Club

Dylan Ward: Honorable Mention in Science Fiction/Fantasy


Freshmen – Papyrus & Quills Club

Anthony Grasso: Silver Key in Short Story

 “The Cycle of Sayings” (A Sonnet)

When we first found you in your youthful charm,
We lifted you from that web, intricate and vast,
Pulled you from dreamy snippets of the past,
And let you live, latching frantically to our arm.
We let you slip through our lips, to help, heal, harm,
To joke, to gossip, to chat, to banter, to harass.
You were everything then, but you could never last,
When your looks wore dull and gray to our alarm,
We tossed your frail body back from where it came,
And as you crawled away like a poisoned king,
We pretended we couldn’t hear you anymore.
But now, just as we thought of your transient fame,
We’ve decided we miss you, so why don’t you cling,
Back onto our arm, where you can be spoken for.

-- Anthony Doyle

Too Close by Anthony Doyle

The sky was ashen and the air with thick,
Her wings pierced the heavy fog,
With maroon feathers and fierce eyes,
She hovered over the dark woods.

Her wings pierced the heavy fog,
The fog that enveloped a metal tower,
She hovered over the dark woods,
Too close to the tower’s buzzing wires,

The fog that enveloped a metal tower,
It obscured her omnipresent sight,
Too close to the tower’s buzzing wires,
She turned to ash and faded into the fog.

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