Hamilton College Library

News From the Library

Congratulations to the Winners of the Apple & Quill Burke Library Poetry Contest!

By Kristin Strohmeyer and Laura Festine

April 21, 2014

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Apple & Quill Burke Library Poetry Contest are Nathaniel Livingston ’14, Walter Zonenberg ’14, and Emma Reynolds ’17.  All three have won Opus gift cards, and their poems are reprinted below. 

In honor of National Poetry Month, we asked members of the Hamilton community to write an original poem that was about or reflected upon Burke Library.  The form, length, and technique was open to interpretation.  We were thrilled to get twelve entries, and it was difficult to choose the top three.  Thank you to everyone who participated!


Study Habits

Bookshelf tunnels
to subvert the traffic.

Passing titles
become jumbled words

a   t   s    x    i g  y  n   e

I tell myself
I’m looking for a book.

Downcast eyes, studying
do not look back.

It’s harder to open a person
than to open a book

and I’m too timid in the library
to say “hello.”

I guess your call number.
I glimpse your auburn binding

and dangling legs
as I flit through unlit corridors,

float downstairs,
traverse the once-orange foyer

to scan you, so I can hold you
in the peaceful dark outside.


by Nathaniel Livingston ‘14


Trees, emeriti

The skyward-straining conifers have rings within their bark
quite unlike learned astronomers who calculate with chalk.
Nay, they have simpler monikers, but older is their guild:
it claims the finest chroniclers wherewith the woods are filled.

Let us not glee or caper, that we hewed them to the ground,
to grind them into paper for the works of Ezra Pound.
But let us, as the shaper of the temple of these shelves
sniff in with thanks a vapor from the trees who gave themselves.

For it is no high enigma, that their incense lingers yet
and disdains to cast a stigma on our building's silhouette.
We might bore them with the dogma printed on their former flesh
but they glow like seething magma to our reading minds refresh.

by Walter Zonenberg ‘14


with eight pages left 

the clouds have papercuts
where the 7:27 sun seeps
through, staining
Shakespeare a dull
tangerine. today
i will stay in the
library. i cannot let
the sun awake

By Emma Reynolds ‘17

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