Cynthia Neely

Poem by Wenatchee Valley College student wins Poetry for the Mind's Joy poetry contest

Wenatchee Valley College student Cynthia Neely’s poem, “Birdland,” is a winning poem in the Poetry for the Mind’s Joy Project poetry writing competition. The project is sponsored by the Library of Congress in collaboration with the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA).

Neely was a professional textile artist and teacher before turning to painting and poetry. “I have been writing poetry for several years,” she said, “but wanted and needed some outside input.”

Last winter, she registered for a creative writing class taught by Derek Sheffield at WVC. “This class should be on any writer’s list as one to take,” she said. “Not only will one become a better writer, but one will become someone better able to understand and express oneself with regard to others’ writing.”

Neely grew up in the Great Lakes region of Canada, then in the mountains of Pennsylvania and New England before making her home with her husband and son in Leavenworth. The natural world, and her place in it, has always been the primary subject matter of her work.

“Birdland” and other winning poems are available on the Library of Congress’s Poetry for the Mind’s Joy website at Winning poems are being considered for an online anthology to be featured on the website.

Poetry for the Mind’s Joy is a national initiative that includes a video conference, national celebration by community colleges, and poetry writing contest. Winning poems were selected during a competition administered in the spring by the Community College Humanities Association. Winners were chosen at the local level by participating college campuses.