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MaryBeth Cooper (‘17) and Nicole Arocho Hernández (‘15) win prizes from Academy of American Poets

MaryBeth Cooper ('17) and Nicole Arocho Hernández (‘15) have won University & College Poetry Prizes from the Academy of American Poets. MaryBeth Cooper won the Frankye Davis Mayes Prize for her poem "Everything I Hate About My Body.” Nicole Arocho Hernández won the Katherine C. Turner Prize for her poems titled “Puerto Rican Haikus.”

As a writing minor at IC, MaryBeth concentrated mainly on fiction. She describes a key moment in her time at IC, where she studied with Professor Jacob White: “I always wanted to be a writer, but for whatever reason I didn't consider that as an option for my career until Jacob told me that if all I wanted to do was write, I could do it.” Now, having earned her MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in Fiction, she teaches English at Central Georgia Technical College.

The inspiration for her poem came from an increased connection between mind and body as well as Molly Brodak's satirical poem, "I Hate Women.”

Nicole Arocho Hernández graduated from IC as a writing major and is currently an MFA candidate in Poetry at Arizona State University. More of her poetry can be found on her website where she says she writes “about colonialism, personal and collective grief, relationship between self and nation, and anything Puerto Rican.” Additionally, she works as a translator.

Last year, her e-chapbook of poems, I Have No Ocean, was published by Sundress Publications. The book "conveys a vivid Puerto Rico set against the backdrop of Hurricane María and the resulting devastation and displacement."

Congratulations to these two alumnae!