Annie Christain, Assistant Professor of Composition and ESOL at SUNY Cobleskill, was recently selected by renowned poet Chinaka Hodge as the winning finalist of the Oakland School for the Art’s Poetry Contest. Chinaka Hodge – poet, educator, playwright and screenwriter – has been featured in Newsweek, San Francisco Magazine, Believer Magazine, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry. Against tough competition, Christain’s poem, “The Game,” was hand-picked by Hodge to place first. Christain’s award included $1,000 and publication in Enizagam, a high-quality literary journal featuring poetry, fiction, and interviews by writers from all over the world.
An Enizagam staff favorite, “The Game” is a poem about a man who describes his theory regarding three missing persons to police officers. An unexpected and dynamic undercurrent to the poem, readers will uncover that the man’s theories align with what happens to cows in the robotic milking process.
Introduced to the topic of robotic milking from a SUNY Cobleskill student’s Fundamentals of College Writing essay, Christain was inspired to pen a poem that encompassed the idea of humans being regulated by similar robots. A fascinating notion, Christain wanted to explore the possibility of humans getting used to the convenience of the whole process and even welcoming it – just as cows freely and willingly enter the robotic station to be milked.
“I am honored that my poem “The Game,” won first place in the poetry contest. This is a very meaningful accomplishment for me, as the poem was inspired by one of my student’s knowledge of the dairy industry. To be selected by Chinaka Hodge is also a special honor. I admire her writing and acting roles in videos. I could watch the Atmosphere “Kanye West” video all day,” said Christain.
This accomplishment follows a series of other, non-related poems by Christain to be published in distinguished poetry and literary publications. For the year of 2015, a selection of Christain’s poems that have been accepted and/or published include: “The Best Way to Go Is By M&DC: Takedowns Are All Metal,” The Wisconsin Review; “God Wants You to Go to Jail, ”A Spider-Man Must Be Born of This Earth,” “Xennials,” Enizagam; “Smoking Test Cigarettes Labeled with an X, Queen of Diamonds, or a Daisy for Some Easy Cash.” “We Must Kill All Rats Before We Can Kill Your Rats,” Skidrow Penthouse; “Mayfly Satellites.” Zymbol; and “LAPD, Blue Child, and Low Daily Rates: No One Was Killed in the Square,” Southeast Review.