Previous Winners

2022 Balocating Prize Winner

Congratulations to Sophia DeRango, whose poem "When My Dad Called the Cops on My First Boyfriend" was chosen by final judge Jonah Mixon-Webster as the 2022 Annie Balocating Undergraduate Prize for Poetry winner.


About the winning poem, Jonah Mixon-Webster writes:

In the poem "When My Dad Called the Cops on My First Boyfriend," imagery and intonation are deployed as simultaneous modes of avowal and implication. The gaze of the poem and its speaker oscillate away and toward the events of violence and silence, performing a widespread indictment in which every figure and object becomes complicit, especially the figure of the "cop." This poem's most magnanimous quality is its precise lyrical pacing, the steady rhythms of apprehension and interrogation which reify and confound the temporal realities of survival. Considering this year's theme for the Balocating Contest, "Poetry of Witness, Poetry of Resistance," I am grateful for how this poem asks us to witness and appreciate a survivor's complete milieu beyond the instantiations of trauma, injury, and fear. Furthermore, I am grateful for how this poem encourages us to understand that resistance has no time table, there is no deadline for resistance, it has no expiration date--that despite whatever amount of time it takes, resistance is to be celebrated and supported whenever it happens.   


Sophia was awarded $500 and read the winning poem at Poetry of Witness, Poetry of Resistance: JJJJJerome Ellis, Layli Long Soldier, Jonah Mixon-Webster on April 6, 2022.


Finalists for the 2022 Balocating Prize for Undergraduate Poetry are Alissa Hakim, Natalie Mannino, Anel Robinson, Julia Rudlaff, Durga Shanker, Jo Troxell.



When My Dad Called the Cops on My First Boyfriend


Large leaf portrait

small cat purring

on the piano

that only I know how to play

moss green couch

warm from the afternoon sun


When I sit down

in our living room

curated so carefully

by my mother

pillows billow dust


A police officer

questions me


What is his name?

When did this happen?

Where does he live?


Can you describe

exactly where

you were at the time?


The dust resettles

I overhear him

asking my dad


                                                Why did she wait so long

                                                to tell someone?


My final text

that warns him

to never contact me again

changes from delivered

to read


My mom lowers

the shades


Sophia DeRango
Winner, 2022 Balocating Prize for Undergraduate Poetry



Past Winners
2021            Mira Blankenship
2019            Sameed Khan         
2018            Maddy Wheelock
2017            Emma Hintzen
2016            Anna Goodson
2015            Connor Yeck
2014            Jenny Crakes
2013            Tony Lograsso
2012            Grace Pappalardo
2011             Korey Hurni