Spires Announces Fall Contest Winners, Hosts Open Mic


MCLA’s literary journal, “Spires,” revealed the winners of their fall contest at an open mic event in Murdock Hall on Saturday, Jan. 27. The event featured readings of poetry and music from students, alumni and community members.

The event had an audience of around 40 people that listened attentively and clapped along.
There were winners among Poetry, Prose, and Visual Art.

The first place for poetry went to Cassandra Lavoie for “Stressed Loon,” with Allison O’Keefe’s “Epileptic” taking the prize for second and Meredith Beard’s “Rain Map” taking third. Madeline McConnell won first place in prose for her piece “Stasis,” while Lindsey Vachon’s “A Girl in Pink” took second.

For Visual Art, Rachel Mancour took home first for “Colored Pencil Reflected Woman,” while Halie Smith took second and third place with “Lumberjacks” and “Uh.”

The winners were chosen democratically and anonymously by the Spires general membership as explained by co-managing editors Katherine Duval and Ian Cappelli.

“The fall contest is something that Spires likes to do annually,” said Duval. “We collect submissions throughout the fall semester and then anonymously we vote on first place, second place, and third place for Prose, Poetry, and Visual Arts.”

The magazine had upwards of 50 submissions to choose from, depending on the categories.

Zach Finch, professor of English/Communications and Spires adviser, was impressed with the diversity of the submissions that the magazine received.

“I think the eclectic diversity of the submissions is what I noticed most, that there’s not one sort of style or theme that people are writing about and that was refreshing to see,” said Finch.

Spires hopes to hold more open mics throughout the rest of the semester.

“We’re going to try to host them throughout the rest of the semester, hopefully, they’ll be bi-monthly, at least once a month, but we’re hoping to get it up to two,” said Duval.
“We believe that open mics are great to generate this kind of community. We had not just people who go here but alums,” said Cappelli.

Another highlight of the night was junior Luke O’Brien’s performance of “Deadest Dreams” by Radiator Hospital and the debut of an original song he calls “I Walked (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #5),” a song that he wrote studying abroad in Ireland last semester. O’Brien enjoyed seeing the talent that the other acts had to offer.

“We have so many great artists in both visual and poetic and musical artists in North Adams at MCLA in particular. It’s just so humbling and inspiring to come out to these things,” said O’Brien.

Spires is currently accepting submissions for their spring journal. The deadline to submit work is Feb. 26 and work can be submitted by emailing spires@mcla.edu.
An audio version of this story can be found on theonlinebeacon.com.

This story has an audio component. 


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