Skip to main content

Events in the Library - Fort Wayne: Ink Cloud - Student Poetry and Art Contest

What Is Ink Cloud?

Ink Cloud is a collection of poetry submissions from the Ivy Tech Community College- Fort Wayne students. What started as a student poetry contest became an Ivy Tech Fort Wayne Library publication. We first started this contest in April 2015. We received 80 original poetry submissions. A committee comprised of Ivy Tech staff and faculty was created to determine a winner of the contest. Poems were judged on Originality, Creativity, and Focus/Clarity of writing. While judged, identifying information was removed from each poem. The top winners of the Student Poetry Contest have been invited to judge the winner for their submissions.

Student Winners for 2019

We are happy to present the following as the student winners for the Ink Cloud 2019 Poetry contest.


1st Place:

"Lovers Like Us" by Julia Carter

You kissed me with poison from your last lover still damp on your lip
I swallowed it down like the sticky sweet tea you served me last June
And then I asked for more, more of this fire running rampant in my veins
More compression, depression, cutting off my air supply
Until my eyes grow milky white where irises used to lie

You crack wide open like a cicada in September, shedding yourself,
Burrowing into darkness where you’ll hide for the rest of my life
I cloak myself in the remnants of you, pulling your skin taut
Over my too bigness, squishing myself into your vacant chest cavity

“Love me, love me, love me,” I chant as I lay on my back
Surrounded in you, inside you, but never really having any of you
While you have all of me in my entirety, crooked teeth and knotted hair
Completing you with my incomplete, soothing myself over all your cracks

When I am everything you need, will you finally love me?

“Use me,” I pray as I worship the soft skin draped over the hollow
Where clavicle and shoulder come together as one
I write my sins across your ashen skin
The tip of my tongue my fountain pen

I need you to break me in the most glorious of ways
Rip me open, hollow me out, feast on the blood and flesh
Until all that is left is the essence of me and all that I lack


2nd Place:

"Dear Grandma" by Morgan Cooley

You told me
I was worthless
Just a pair
Of forgotten shoes
The dog tore up


You told me
I would never amount to anything
Just seeing the
“failures” of my parents
Under the weight of your disapproval

Walking away
On Thanksgiving
I won’t forget

A line drawn
Through the word family
Between Grandmother
And Granddaughter
Unforgotten words

Thanksgiving was
In a different home
Held together without blood

You told me
You refused to help me
Pay for college
Because I am
The way I am

Through the pain

I made it here anyway.

Ink Cloud - Full Version

Judge's Favorites 2019

"Air" by Madison Mitchell

"American Child" by Julia Carter

"Bang Bang" by Tiffany Jackson

"Broken" by Jodi Trierweiler

"The Demon Dreaming" by Aaron Guiff

"Dragon’s Breath" by Madison Mitchell

"Duel of Wits" by Isabel Kern

"Godzilla" by Aaron Guiff

"Love Me Not" by Morgan Cooley

"The Things I Saw" by Mallory Wittwer

"The Wayside" by Aaron Guiff

"Why I Write" by Mallory Wittwer

"Wild and Free" by Jodi Trierweiler

Cover Artwork Winner 2019

"Her Silhouette" by Mallory Wittwer

Faculty Winnerd 2019

1st Place:

"of pain" by Michael Johnson II

a youngster—
to wit, just a boy.
age three
barefoot in rain puddles
stamping away tears
from some long-gone
Mom's twisted face
his eyes down
wet feet
breaking the cycle
of pain

of pain
well known by his
for whom he dances
kicking up drops
that sparkle
morning sun
new life on
dead grass
he laughs
barefoot and dancing


2nd Place:

"The Reading" by Steven Philip Lively

"It's like we're on
a train," someone says.
There is four feet
of thin worn carpet
in the northernmost aisle
of this narrow bookstore
Where the local poet,
A published, prolific professor,
Prepares a Power Point
presentation prior to performing.
~Those P's wrote themselves~
In this single aisle,
A woman has collected
seven seats, six stools
to serve as satisfactory
sitting options squarely secured
~Those S's were stretches~
for the incoming anonymous
manifest of friends, colleagues
who conduct themselves like
strangers or companions on
a metropolitan commute or
lengthy return to relatives
whom they see less
and less each year.
We're trained from youth
to be still, civil,
engineered from our childhood
to be polite. Always.
As the bookshop's car
fills with late arrivals,
We shed our layers
and peel away ourselves
To become more comfortable.

And those who arrive
before the poet's departure
from real life realize
that they are suddenly
seatless. They'll see less
with coats draped over
their arms like towels
or plain white bedsheets
that danced in backyards
of our grandparents' youth.