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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Madeline Marriott ’24 wins Jean Corrie Poetry Contest

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
Madeline Marriott ’24 based her winning poem on the relationship between her and her mother.

Last week, Madeline Marriott ’24 was named this year’s winner of the English department’s annual Jean Corrie Poetry Contest, a poetry writing competition for first-years, sophomores and juniors at the college. This year’s contest was judged by poet and college bookstore manager Darrell Parry.

Marriott examines the complex relationship between mothers and their daughters in her winning poem “On Having a Mother, On Being Her Daughter.”

“I think that the relationship between mothers and daughters is super complex and interesting,” Marriott said. “I think it comes with a lot of societal baggage and intergenerational differences. And I just think that that’s a really rich, interesting dynamic that’s worth exploring.”

According to Marriott, the poem frames this complicated mother-daughter dynamic in conjunction with societal expectations of being a woman.

“My poem is about just the similarities and differences between a mother and a daughter and how a daughter might resent some of that, some of the expectations that come along with womanhood,” she said.

Marriott explained that her writing process for her winning poem was different from her usual writing process. Rather than writing the poem in a single sitting, she worked on it in pieces over an extended period of time.

“I haven’t ever worked on and tinkered with a single poem for this amount of time,” Marriott said. “I felt like I deserved to submit that extended work of mine … I haven’t written a ton of other poetry throughout this year. So I felt like that was like my main poetic output for this year.”

Marriot’s approach to writing poetry typically relies on an idea sparked from a specific line or an image. In this poem’s case, an interaction between her and her mother while they were cooking together inspired the poem.

“This starting point was, I was cooking with my mom … She taught me how to make what we were making, and I was watching our hands move the same way as we were making it,” Marriott said. “And I was like, ‘Huh, that’s pretty interesting.’ And then from there, it sort of just boils a little bit, and it starts growing and then that became sort of like the opening stanza.”

Marriott feels that poetry in general is a particularly powerful writing medium due to its potentially large impact in a small number of words.

“[Poems] can be so deeply moving in such a short amount of space… That is so cool to me, that you have this tiny little strand of words, and it just has this life of its own. And I really like when it can inspire something different for every person,” Marriott said.

The poetry contest was commemorated with a poetry reading event held in the Marlo Room, with readings from Marriott, Parry and Jean Corrie runner-up Julia Greeley ’25.

“It’s just an honor,” Marriott said. “It’s really an honor to be chosen and to get to read my work and to be recognized in that way.”

Disclaimer: Culture Editor Madeline Marriott ’24 did not contribute writing or reporting.

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Natalia Ferruggia, Culture Editor
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