First Place – 2020 Beverly Hopkins Contest for High School Students

“The musical stutters and breaths in ‘Adagio’ are wonderful examples of enactment, of form informing content, of a poem sounding like what it means.  I am most impressed with Rowan Elliott’s use of timing in this poem.  Its balance of abstractions headed toward a magical penultimate moment of the most definite concrete language reads like full-on waking after a dream.”

Jericho Brown, 2020 Hopkins Contest Judge


Gateway Science Academy of St. Louis

A slow piece.
In other words, not life.
Life is more like a
A saga of short moments
We skim through before nightfall
And we have to go to bed.

When sleepless, I search for adagio.
I can sometimes find it too.
Past the winding street lights,
Above the moon and clouds,
My personal nocturne, always
Sweet like sugarcane.
A mirage more true than reality.