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K-State Today

May 28, 2019

Pospisil named winner of Sullivan Poetry Award

Submitted by Malorie Wagner

Madelyn Pospisil receives the Sullivan Poetry Award from Dean Amit Chakrabarti and Assistant Dean Alison Wheatley.

Madelyn Pospisil, graduate from the master's in English program, has been named the winner of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Sullivan Poetry Award for her submission, "Niels Bohr dips his aebleskivers in honey."

The poem was partially inspired by an article discussing other tiny, fleeting dimensions opening up around us, and how some scientists believe we just don't notice these.

"It was also inspired by my family traditions," Pospisil said, "and by a resemblance between Niels Bohr and my grandpa, Niels Martin Graverholt."

The weaving together of the motifs of family and physics is one element that made Pospisil's poem stand out as excellent.

Pospisil traveled to Fermilab, the national particle physics and accelerator laboratory, in early 2019 to tour the facilities and speak to physicists at Fermilab as well as those working with CERN in Geneva and DUNE in South Dakota. Brett DePaola, department head in physics, also gave Pospisil a tour of the J.R. Macdonald Laboratory in Cardwell Hall.

"Getting to visit new places and see particle accelerators close up was incredibly useful to my writing process," Pospisil said. "It gave me access to all the senses and added a physicality to my poems."

Pospisil's master's project is a collection of poems titled "Broken Symmetry."

"The poems take the language and metaphor of particle physics, but they are also about relationships, mice and secrets," Pospisil said. 

To read Pospisil's poem, "Niels Bohr dips his aebleskivers in honey," visit the College of Arts and Sciences' Sullivan Poetry Award page.