Winning Poetry Entries of The New Frontier’s Writing Competition

Magnus Redding and Megan Cox

In The New Frontier’s first writing competition, we received numerous entries from talented writers in different grades. We want to thank all of the people that submitted entries for this competition. We enjoyed reading your writing! The first-place winner for the poetry entry is “Namesake.” It is written by Magnus Redding who is a senior at Kennedy. 


safety is my first and only name,

                      my one desire                     and sole impossibility.


as long as this house is loud, and my ears still ring,

it does nothing to beg for my name even      louder–

this is the one truth i hold in my heart, even as it breaks it.


my name, in this sense, 

is not what will be written on my headstone–

just echoes in a chamber, mimicking only the pleas of a child.


the soft voice begs             “do not bury me in my mother’s color,”

my spirit was never more broken than it was while dressed in rose.


safety is my escape, my wake from terror– 

                       and one day,                    my name.


Comments from a voter: The structure, use of symbolism, and unique choice of words are a few of the reasons that made this poem stand out. Even in its short nature, it allows the reader to see the significance of the subject. The structure guides readers to take time while reading in order to fully understand the desires and troubles of the author. It is a vulnerable poem that can be found relatable. 


The second-place winner for the poetry entry is “This Mortal Band.” It is written by Megan Cox who is a Freshman at Kennedy. We also want to give an honorable mention to Madelyn Bonilla’s “Why Didn’t I” and Josephine Amara Bangali’s “Heartache.” 

This Mortal Band

And perchance I find myself invested in this mortal band,

this band so fragile, so fickle. 

I know these fools; I know their names. 

Their terrible, awful, human names—

I know them! 

I know them all! 

I know the band: the players and their instruments. 

The sweetest sounds, the deafening din. 

And I know their instability, their terrible, awful, human instabilities. 


And I try to run from it but their grip is too strong. 

It pulls me back—back into the withering arms of that wretched embrace. 


And I scream and I cry and I weep and I breathe 

And I breathe 

And I breathe 

And I breathe 

And I breathe 

And I— 

Why do I do that?! 


They hug me close and tuck me in; 

whisper: I love you. Goodnight. 


And then the door closes 

and then the light is shut out. 

And I stare at the ceiling 

and I think to myself. 

And I say: Oh God, oh God… 

What a terrible, terrible mistake!


Comments from a voter: The attention-grabbing title is an amazing introduction to this poem. The organization, use of repetition, and imagery are some of the factors that make this poem stand out. The poem displays the complications in relationships with loved ones as it reveals the doubts the people can have about those they are close to. It allows readers to interpret it based on their own life experiences and take meaningful lessons from it.