Chatham University

Global Focus
Artwork and Writing Competition

 

FIRST PLACE WINNER

What We Learn before traveling to Turkey
D. Gilson, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, Chatham University

Over chardonnay, Thomas asks about Istanbul, about Thrace and the Anatolian Peninsula. I don’t know, I tell him, but ask me again in six months. There is more wine. We throw around heard myths–of the baths and conservative politics, soaring mosques and desert vistas. I think none of these are true, or are half–truths, or quarter. The waiter checks in. I say more wine, lütfen, botching one of three Turkish words I have learned. The restaurant empties slowly. Thomas and I lean back on floor cushions, finish the sudden wine, watch the staff shut the place down. We dream of where our lives will take us–this year, Turkey, of this we are sure. Merhaba, hello, Thomas yells to no one in particular. The wine is gone. We are asked to leave, to walk out and onto Highland Avenue, beyond. Elveda, I whisper, closing the door.

SECOND PLACE WINNER

The Turkish Model
Katherine B. Bowley, Master of Professional Writing Program, Chatham University

Blue Rondo a la Turk rings inside my head
While purple & magenta Persian rugs
Instead make visual paths for my naïve,
Wandering eyes.
But, I surmise, I have never seen, or been––
Nor crossed Turkish cultural bridges where
Fusion of empires, rise or fall, but still fare
With a culturally homogenous shawl.
I applaud! Why? I'll tell you all.

Calls rang out to individuals for their identity,
But modernity cracked the whip, and cymbals crashed the columbine!
"Enter!" said they, knowing possible despair.
"Prepare the runway with tree branches and delicate leaf flair;
Cascading guilt helps us go nowhere!"

None are alone because the finish wears a congenial tone.
While introducing collectible collision slips and sporting Ottoman outlines,
Many daring feet dance through dissident doors and cross forbidden borderlines.
Turks take the prize ––modeling integration.
They sit well with how they align.
Is that a surprise?

THIRD PLACE WINNER

Focus on Turkey
Heather E. Smith, Master of Science in Counceling Psychology Program, Chatham University

Grandfather, Papa; everyone called you Nish. you swallowed the gold coins that paid for your (our) passage to this country. Lived an "American dream" built on the ashes of our culture. I don't blame you.

Grandmother. help me to speak the pain for those of us who died. Over a million. What a burden to take on, no? But I have seen the pictures. Emaciated corpses. Corpse-like marchers with eyes sunken, dark eyes, like mine. Wide noses and thighs the size of my forearm. Did you see this in color?

Mother. you urged me to grad school where they told us all to celebrate Turkey this year. I never told you that I skipped convocation because I was afraid I might scream "Genocide deniers" at no one present. Your legacy: hating our facial hair.

Father. i was afraid I might waste your gift, my education, if I let the blood of my (not your) murdered ancestors boil over top of this quiet little village on a hill. I have your English nose.

Students. you rioted in the streets for our independence. Angering the tsar. And now I march in the streets against the death of our rivers. I see the rivers in brown and gray, voluptuous. Behind closed eyes there are sinuous arms holding babies suckling at breasts with nothing to give. Hitler praised the Turks for their methods. How powerful it is to riot for something.

People of Diaspora. have you also seen the pictures of mass graves? Genocide, written in our DNA. The double-spiral snake of our chromosomal remembrance wrapped inextricably around Mt. Ararat. Not just email quiz bowl answer. Holy place.

I. difficult to celebrate Turkey. So far I haven't angered anyone.

 

Art Competition

Low Season by Patricia Byrne

FIRST PLACE WINNER

Photograph "Low Season"
Patricia Byrne, Chatham University Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, Chatham University

Watch Video

SECOND PLACE WINNER

Film "A Year of Turkey"
Heidi McDonald, Class of 2012 Film Studies, Chatham University

Untitled Multimedia Mosaic by Crystal Hilbert

THIRD PLACE WINNER

Untitled Multimedia Mosaic
Crystal Hilbert, Class of 2012 English, Chatham University