A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

“Sing, Mother, Sing,” by Madeline Lee, 2017 Elaine Wetterauer Contest Winner

Sing, Mother, Sing

sing, Mother, sing
sing to me before
you leave me
sing about your tears
puddling up in your eyes
sing the high notes
sing the low notes
sing in the dark, abandoned
streets of China
sing the chorus
of guilt and sorrow
sing about the life
I will have
sing to God, praying
someone will find me
sing about how I will
never know you
sing the words
I will never understand
sing with the hope
that I will forgive you
sing, Woman, sing

Madeline Lee, a 10th grader at Nathan Hale High School, is this year’s winner of the 2017 Elaine Wetterauer Contest. To celebrate her achievement, Madeline read “Sing, Mother, Sing” at Jesmyn Ward’s Literary Arts Series event last Wednesday. Our second-place finalists are Sophie Anderson of Blue Heron Middle School and Vincent Ryser of Alki Elementary School.

WITS holds this writing contest annually, which is open to all K-12 students that attended a WITS partner school in the 2016/17 school year. This year, contestants submitted original poems, stories, and comics based on the title of Jesmyn Ward’s latest novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing. The theme “Sing, _____, Sing” allowed students to explore the subjects of yearning, struggle, and hope in relation to their personal experiences. Students were encouraged to fill the blank space with something that they would call upon to “sing” through their creative writing.

The entries to this year’s contest, including Madeline’s winning poem, are compiled in a chapbook titled “Sing the Words.” Our editors were struck by the profound range of wit and wisdom in this year’s submissions. We were moved and inspired by these young writers’ words, and we’re excited to celebrate the creative young minds collected in this chapbook.

Click here to read the “Sing the Words” E-chapbook.

Posted in 2017/18 SeasonCreativitySpecial EventsWriters in the Schools