Milton student wins prestigious Poet’s Laureate prize

Milton student wins prestigious Poet's Laureate prize

Samantha Homcy and Jessi Rich

For the second year in a row, a Milton High School student has won the prestigious Georgia Poet Laureate Prize. Dagmawit “Bessi” Adamu, a junior at Milton, won first prize in the contest this year out of two hundred submissions from students from all around Georgia, for her poem “Seamstress.” Last year, current junior Max Morella won the same prize for his entry, titled “Existential Haiku: A Choose Your Own Adventure Poem.”


2018 marks the fifth anniversary of the annual Georgia Poet Laureate’s Prize. The contest takes entries from high schoolers all over the state, and chooses a winner and four finalists to be published in the Atlanta Magazine.


The five selected also receive the privilege of going to the Governor’s office and meeting the governor and Georgia’s current poet laureate, Judson Mitcham. Mitcham has been widely published in literary journals, and his publications have  earned him the Devins Award and recognition as Georgia Author of the Year.


Adamu has little experience in the poetry field. “I [entered] the competition because I wanted to see how others would view my poetry,” says Adamu. However, she is still a very proficient writer and is in Milton’s National English Honor Society. “She has an eloquence in her writing and her style.” says Mrs. O’Brien, Adamu’s language arts teacher. “Seamstress,” was based off of an article she read about the Rohingya Genocide. “Following that article, I read many more reports about the atrocities…that [the Rohingya] people have experienced at the hands of others,” says Adamu. “I wanted to write a poem that depicted both the horrors of genocide and the effect it has had on the people who experienced it.”


How does Adamu feel about being the second Milton student to win this award? “I’m really happy that I get to represent Milton for the second time, and I can’t wait to see what next year’s Milton kids will do!” says Adamu.


You can read Adamu’s poem here.


You can read Morella’s poem here.


Left to right: Current Poet Laureate Judson Mitcham, Milton High School Principal Brian Jones, Bessi Adamu, Milton English teacher Jane O’Brien, First Lady Sandra Deal, and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal