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Winners announced in 2nd Annual Garden of Romance Poetry Contest
5/12/2015 12:52:41 PM

A British literature teacher in New York and an Indiana high school student took the tops prizes in the 2nd Annual Garden of Romance Poetry Contest sponsored by Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.

Stacy Pratt, an assistant professor of English at Jefferson State University of New York in Watertown, won first place in the adult division with “A Soldier’s Wife at Magnolia.” The first-place prize is $500.

Lauren Koch, a student at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Ind., received the first-place prize in the youth division with “At the Garden of Magnolia.” She won an iPad.

The other winning entries in the adult division are:
· Paula S. Osborn of Johns Island, S.C., second place, $300, “Magnolia”
· Brian Slusher, of Greenville, S.C., third place, $200, “On Blackwater”

Honorable mention winners – $50 prizes – are:
· Sagan Miriam of Santa Fe, N.M., “Fortuna’s Garden”
· Catherine Cummings of Marietta, Ga., “Magnolia Faire”

The other winning entries in the youth division are:
· Ashley Spoleti, of Mount Sinai, N.Y., second place, $200, “The Garden That Brings Love”
· C.J. Cleland, Ridgeland, S.C., third place, $100, “The Beautiful Gardens of Magnolia”

Honorable mention winners – annual family membership to Magnolia – are:
· Monica Martelli, Cumming, Ga., “Mangolia Bliss”
· Jasmine Davis, Chester, S.C., “Is It a Fantasy?”
· Amillyon Davis, Chester, S.C., “I Love You Garden”
· Roslyn Felver, Seabrook, S.C., “The Magnolia Gardens of Charleston”
· Isabelle Enzweilr, Ridgeland, S.C. “Angels of Love”

Entries in the adult division were judged by Katrina Murphy, vice president of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, and Dr. Jacquelyn Markham, an award-winning poet. Youth division poems were judged by Donna Adams, reference and young adult librarian, Otranto Road Regional Library in North Charleston, and Willette Wilkins, creative writing teacher, North Charleston Cultural Arts Department.

Magnolia is America’s last large-scale romantic-style garden. The contest was open to poems that emulate the style of romance poets William Wordsworth, Ashley Tennyson and Percy Bysshe Shelley. A Wordsworth quote inscribed on a small sign at Magnolia’s entrance reads: “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”

The Rev. John Grimké Drayton is credited with adopting a romantic style of gardening at Magnolia after visiting Europe in the 1800s as the Romantic Movement swept Europe and America.

More than 120 poems were submitted between Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 and March 31. The winning poems are posted at


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