2016 Sejong Writing Competition

Winning Entries :: Sijo

Austin Snell (12th grade)

first place


My new dog, little Emma, a gift to us from the heavens.
My aunt passed, stupid cancer, my mom distraught. Everyone muted.
I could look into Emma’s eyes, she’s still here, on four paws.


Bella Dalton-Fenkl (12th grade)

second place

The Sanctuary

Tiny snow-white egret wading
       through the sea near broken rocks—
How can a being so fragile
       keep balanced despite the waves?
On the beach, not far from the boardwalk,
       there stands only one tough tree.


Vivian Nguyen (9th grade)

third place


She challenges me.
Poking fun at how I look.
I tell her we shall never be friends-
I will not return to her.
But I realize she will never leave.
She is the woman who lives inside of me.


Philip Ahn (9th grade)

honorable mention

Forever Gone

All your thoughts are gone, never to be seen again
Back and forth, back and forth, until everything disappears
The eraser is now wiping all of the pencil marks away

Suzan Kim (11th grade)

honorable mention

A Fleeting Moment of Profound Relief

The nebulous sound of tourist babble melds into the heat.
A grizzled man gestures to his blanket, lined with baubles.
“You buy? You buy?” He sighs, assuaged, when I reach for my wallet.

Dante Kirkman (8th grade)

honorable mention

Back in New Orleans

In the South, Grandpa was born. Paper shack house had a dirt floor.
As a kid he drank coffee. Milk for them was too expensive.
They were rich with gospel spirit! In church they sang, and filled their hearts.

Derek Krueger (12th grade)

honorable mention


My father was a hero mailing letters to soldiers in Japan.
My brother was a hero flying food to friendlies in Korea.
But I was a coward for shooting my gun in Vietnam.

Katie McFarland (10th grade)

honorable mention

Here I am, the human pincushion, constantly stabbing my skin with needles.
Here I am, a disappointment to my parents, with a chronic disease.
Here I am, a teenager, trying to hold onto a piece of nonexistent string.

Haley Tedstrom (9th grade)

honorable mention

This artwork is so beautiful and creates a home for someone.
It is made in the biggest workshop on the entire Earth.
Small creatures in the sea live, work, and sleep in these seashells.

Duncan Vallone (11th grade)

honorable mention

The ball spins, after I pass, the ball rolls down, after I shoot,
the ball flies, basketball's fun, I play often, I play at school,
I play sports, I play sports at school, I love to play, the ball spins

Abagael Weber (11th grade)

honorable mention

Sol et Luna

Playful shouts and pounding feet,
children run and play in the heat.
Light kisses from the warm rays,
when the sun's out, it’s time to play.
I’m the moon, watching in despair,
I’ll never know their love affair.