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Salveson Prizes

Each year, current Waldorf University students can submit their creative work to the Waldorf Literary Review which is then sent to outside judges, who select winners in poetry, prose, and art. Winning entries are featured in the journal, and the winners receive cash prizes.
Named after the founder of Waldorf University, C. S. Salveson, the Salveson Prizes in Poetry and Prose honor outstanding, student-written poems and prose pieces with a monetary award and recognition in Waldorf Literary Review. All contest decisions are made by outside judges, who are esteemed writers and teachers.

2016-17 1st place Prizes

Megan Haugen
1st Place Salveson Poetry Prize

Entitled to Me

He was my friend.
Nice only to me.
He felt more entitled
To my body than me.
I was fifteen, and
Twenty was he.
He felt more entitled
To my body than me.
He enacted entitlement
On every skin cell.
He took advantage of my body.
He used it well.
I kept it quiet
And did not tell a soul.
My dad would be violent
Mom would say “I told you so.”
It took me a long time
To focus on me
He felt more entitled
To my body than me.

“This poem impresses in every respect. From its concrete form to the courage of taking on an important but
difficult subject, and more. It doesn’t sensationalize or make the material maudlin. Rather, the restrained tone
and simple, clear lines reflect a maturity and control in the writing, and make the poem’s impact stronger.
The brevity gives each word an emphasis that holds us hard. Less is much more here. It’s not only subject and
voice that makes this poem succeed. The repetition, the rhythm and the return use of the title phrase in the final
two lines haunt us, stay with us just as it stays with the speaker of the poem. That’s how it should be. This is
not a poem we should walk away from easily.”

Dana Yost, Poetry Judge, Author of  Grace, The Right Place, and 1940

An excerpt from:
Isabelle Rothbauer
 1st Place Salveson Prose Prize

Becoming the Lobster: The Shells We Live In


When I was a chicken’s egg, the world incubated me, keeping me
warm at all hours of the day, lifting the lid of the cardboard
box they had placed me in to peek at me with anticipated excitement,
waiting for my beak to pierce my shell into a million china pieces,
waiting for me to emerge, furry and slimy, bright-eyed and new.
They squealed with delight; their little chickadee.
When I was a turtle, they poked me with a stick. “Is she even in
there?” They wanted to see me, see every wrinkle in my skin, stare
into the black pools of my eyes, compare my stumpy legs and tail to
the shell I carried on my back, watch my mouth open and close. The
prods echoed like alarms in my shell, and unlike fire alarms, told
me to stay inside. Eventually, they gave up their efforts, tossed the
stick aside, and in their frustration, flipped me with the tip of their
shoe to send me tumbling back into the water. “Turtles are boring,
anyways.” I didn’t mind; they could not see me in the water, my
element of choice.
When I was a coconut, I tried to land on their heads before they
could shake me from my leaves. Skull met skull before I bounced to a
halt in the tall grass. But I didn’t fall for enough to kill, only having
the velocity to leave a large goose egg, so that with one hand holding
the throbbing bump, the other would scoop me up and examine me in
curiosity, stroke my hair, feel bumps of my own. Then they’d shake
me, feel the swishing of my sweet juice inside and find themselves
determined to taste it on their tongue. First, they’d try a knife. Then,
the ground. But they didn’t give up. With the jagged edge of a rock
pointing towards the sky, they threw me over and over and over into
its sharp edge, until I split and my rough brown gave way to smooth
white. The light would be glorious and liberating, and terrible, all
at once.
When I was a bullet, they used me, loaded me and sent me shooting
from the barrel, sending me deep into the flesh and the tissue and
the blood, forcing the nest of my new home. Boom. Clink, clink. My
casing hit the floor.
When I was a nut, they cracked me open and ate me whole. . . 

“In many ways, ‘Becoming the Lobster’ is a classic essay, offering readers an engaging portrait of the “mind at
work” as it wrestles with ideas and the meaning of experience. It is the scope and ambition of that mind, however,
as well as the risk-taking form, that really impressed me. Here we have personal life, but also reflection and
research on subjects as wide-ranging as Chinese mythology, psychology, and the relation between science and
faith. Like the identity of the narrator--like the lobster--this essay presses against the containment of traditional
form, seeking its own unique expression.” 

John Price—Prose Judge, Director of the Creative Nonfiction Writing Program at University of Nebraska, Omaha

2015-2016 Awards

Poetry: Myriah Hacker
Melissa Ingram
Kaytlin Workman

Prose: Laura Moore
Audrey Sparks
2014-2015 Awards

Poetry: Marisa Donnelly
Kaylin Tlam

Prose:   Marisa Donnelly
Laura Moore