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La vie d’une poete:French major wins Ralph Emmons poetry contest

Katrine Villumsen, Katrine Villumsen, and Katrine Villumsen

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She is sitting in the sun. It’s windy, but not cold. Her gentle voice compliments the wind’s melodic sound, as the breeze twists around the buildings on West Campus. She has a smile on her face, but she does not quite understand why she is being interviewed.

“I don’t even think that what I did is such a big thing,” she said, laughing.

Despite her surprise Catherine Estrada, 22, placed first in this year’s Emmons poetry contest held by the English department at City College.

“When I saw the e-mail I shrieked and my mom came in and her mouth dropped,” Estrada said.

A Santa Barbara native, Estrada is enrolled in a creative writing class taught by David Starkey. Her poem was written in his class when Starkey put 15 words on the board for the students to create a poem from.

“One of the words was ‘trout,'” Estrada said. “I knew everyone was going to do some fish allegory, so I tried to change the scene to something else.”

Instead Estrada ended up with a poem that starts off with, “he crossed the room. The tips of his shoes, taking bites of the stained carpet, like a trout fighting the stream.”

Though Estrada, whose mother writes for various magazines, has writing in her genes, she has bigger dreams.

“I’ve always been obsessed with France,” Estrada says. “I can’t say anything bad. I just love France.”

Her fascination with the Mediterranean country was one of the reasons why Estrada translated her poem into French.

“I’m a French major and I’ve gotten to that point where I know how to say a little more than ‘I would like some bread with cheese,'” said Estrada. “I wanted to know how it would sound in French.”

Estrada had her teacher Dr. Monika Laskowski-Caujolle help her with the translation.

“Catherine did most of the translation herself, I only did some minor corrections,” Laskowski-Caujolle said.

The seven judges in the contest based their decision on good writing and strong imagery, something Starkey says Estrada managed very well in her poem.

Although she won the contest, Estrada is unsure if she will enter the next one.

“I want to live in France one day,” she said. “I hope I can do it within the next 6 years.”

Estrada was awarded $1,000 for her first place poem, which has been earmarked as traveling money.

As the sun is setting behind the green hills on West Campus, Estrada is sure of where she wants to travel.

“I want to go to France,” she said.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.
La vie d’une poete:French major wins Ralph Emmons poetry contest