Skip to Main Content

New Voices - Central Indiana: Poetry Contest Winners

Ivy Tech's Literary Journal

Each year, the Ivy Tech Central Indiana Libraries hold a student poetry contest.

The 2020 winners are:

1st place--Haley Smith   "Rehab Rebuilt"

2nd place--Vanessa Johnson   "The Glass Case"

3rd place--Chloe Baughman   "Dress Code"

Congratulations to the 2020 winners!

Winning entries receive prizes and publication in New Voices.

For more information on the poetry contest, or information on how to submit your poetry:

First Place: "Rehab Rebuilt" by Haley Smith

His innocent eyes flutter open

Soon wide scanning the room

Washed wool spinning

I catch a glimpse

Of something inside

A familiar feeling


My sanguine eyes taking in

The rubble and destruction

Blood stained bricks of Canaan

Cleansed by fire

I read a promise painted

By the ashes left behind a city rebuilt


Never able to sleep

Restless to my core

Waiting for night

To go out

Wanton eyes

Scan for provision


Pulling him in

As I’m pulled under

The clashing

Of two opposing currents

Looping vortex of insanity



Never able to sleep

Stock-still unstirred

This night

I won’t go out

I hear the walls



Dredged out from the pit

My heart turning within

A stirring

In my stomach

With stammering lips



Jericho is fallen

Seas parted

Land possessed

Divine purpose

I glance up to my window



Jehovah is risen

Seas parted

Land possessed again

Suffering mollified

I glance up to my window


Second Place: "The Glass Case" by Vanessa Johnson

You locked me in a glass case and threw away the key.

You told me the shards would kill me if I tried to break free.

I thought my fragile box offered protection from a world you said was vile,

but glass now surrounds my feet on the tile.

It turns out that you were the villain all the while,

stabbing me with words that glistened in the night.

You made sorely sure I couldn’t take flight.

A razor sharp tongue that jabbed with intent,

hidden by your blindness to what you thought you really meant.

You mastered your skill, held me in strife with your knife.

The gaslighting enlightened the way I looked at life.

Is freedom really free? Is my voice a silent plea?

Uncertainty is my shadow, the puppeteer over me.

Third Place: "Dress Code" by Chloe Baughman

Anger shows on the face of the girl at school

When her off-the-shoulders blouse is deemed “inappropriate”

And she must change or leave the campus.


Disappointment is evident in the teachers’ lounge the next day

When she returns to school wearing the same shirt, and again

She must change or leave the campus.


They say lust is in the hearts of the boys at school

When they see her shirt that covers everything but her shoulders,

So she must change or leave the campus.


Understanding evades her as she sits in the office,

Because why is her shirt a problem for the boys?

Why must she change or leave the campus?


The office worker feels pity as she looks at the girl

Because the shirt is so pretty, and it only shows her shoulders!

But she knows the girl must change or leave the campus.


The girl is calm as she sits across from the principal.

She knows the problem is the boys and not her shirt

But still she must change or leave the campus.


The principal is frustrated as she looks at the girl,

But she knows the rules. She looks sadly at the shirt and says,

“You must change or leave the campus.”


The girl is sad as she walks back to her locker.

She wishes she could wear her beautiful shirt, but she can’t.

She won’t change, so she leaves the campus