Habe Conlon: Lake Effect Poetry Contest

Lucas Bort, Reinaldo Colon, Michael Bratslavsky

Staff Writers

Sophomore Habe Conlon represented Jamesville-DeWitt High School as one of the top 20 finalists in the Lake Effect Poetry contest. Around 2,000 students from states all over America, including Texas and Wisconsin, submitted their poems to this contest.

Conlon was very pleased with his results. “It’s pretty cool...it was neat how putting it in the contest ended up,” said Conlon. Earlier in the year, his English teacher Matthew Phillips had recommended the contest to his class for them to submit any poems. Later on, Conlon received a surprising email saying he had been named a finalist. Mr. Phillips was also very glad that Conlon had been recognized. “I was just very very proud...it’s well deserved,” said Mr. Phillips.

His award winning poem “Deep River” was a reflection on both American history and society. Conlon said that this poem took a mere 10 minutes to write. Conlon never really has a specific topic to write about, he says he just writes whatever happens to be on his mind.

Conlon has been writing poems for several years, since he was first assigned to in English class. When he found writing poems more enjoyable, he started to progress and write more poems in class, at home, and in electives such as Creative Writing.

The process of poetry can have some struggles but in the end it pays off, according to Conlon. “You need to get it going, and once it does, you just go with the flow,” said Conlon. He gets inspired by anything that’s on his mind, and makes it into a poem, even if the initial step to begin can challenge him.

Mr. Phillips said that Conlon has improved over his time with him. “His use of language is really unique and he finds inspiration in a lot of regional and historical language use and music,” said Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Phillips has had Conlon in class for two years now. Mr. Phillips had Conlon as a freshman in his creative writing class and now has him in his sophomore English class.  Conlon was Mr. Phillips’s first student to ever be named a finalist in this contest. “I work with all the students a little bit here and there but Habe’s stuff is Habe’s stuff.” Most of what he comes up with are his own unique ideas. “He takes a lot of care with it,” said Mr. Phillips.

Although his teachers knew about his writing skills, not all of his friends knew. “I didn’t know he was a poet, but I knew he had artistic abilities,” said sophomore Gavin McCaul. “I’m proud of (him) and I knew (he) could do it from day one…,” said senior Murad Amurlayev.

Conlon hopes to keep having fun writing and encourages himself to continue to become a better poet. Poetry is something that Conlon would like to do in the future. “(I would) like to keep doing it when I want to and it’s just sorta something fun to make it worth while and to just make it happen,” said Conlon.

To read his award winning poem, go to http://jdlitmag.org/library/3/6/11.