Poem selected by college panel for submission to national program

A poem written by Jena Bender of Shipshewana, Indiana, has been selected by a panel at Glen Oaks Community College for submission to “Poetry for the Mind’s Joy,” a national poetry initiative launched by the United States Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and Library of Congress. The initiative, held in conjunction with the Community College Humanities Association, highlights poetry generated on community college campuses as well as the vital role played by community colleges in nurturing lives and minds.

Jena Bender and Lucy Zimmeran reading poem.

Lucy Zimmerman, professor of English composition and literature, served as contact person for the campus. Faculty publicized the poetry event and invited students to participate in the initiative. A faculty selection committee read the student poems and chose the one to submit from Glen Oaks.

Bender’s submission, entitled “Hunt,” was selected by the committee. “I have always enjoyed writing. It is just something I have always done,” said Bender, adding that she plans to continue with her college education and major in English. Bender was also recognized recently by Jeanne Reed, professor of sociology, as an outstanding student at the 2010 Faculty Awards ceremony.

Publication of Bender’s poem is not guaranteed, but those selected by the Community College Humanities Association and the Library of Congress will be included in the online anthology accessible from their websites.

The poem written by Jena Bender follows:

The past follows, stalks, hunts
relentless, endless, exhausting pursuit.
Like a suffocating fog,
overwhelming, overpowering
thick with despair and blackened with memories.
It leaves its prey
cornered, heaving, and gasping for peace
in the labyrinth of the present.
Fear, dread, panic, a pleading struggle
until finally, a submergence, a drowning in the depths of melancholy.
Relentless, endless, exhausting the pursued
the past follows, the past stalks,
the past Hunts.