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Jurcik wins Project Poet’s Winter Formal challenge

October 11, 2012
By cnp
Posted in Student Events

Jacqueline Jurcik, a senior accounting major from Dover, Ark., won week four of Project Poet, the infamous "Winter Formal" round.

The "Winter Formal" challenge is a Project Poet tradition and considered by many to be the most demanding as the contestants are asked to write three poems all with strict forms: a haiku, a limerick, and a villanelle.

This week’s challenge held an extra incentive, however, as it determined which five poets would be advancing to the season finale. All five season finale contestants will win cash prizes, generously donated by University President Dr. Rick Niece and First Lady Sherée.

Last night, 123 audience members watched as Jurcik won the "Winter Formal" with her trio of submissions. Below is Jurcik’s winning villanelle. Along with Jurcik, four other poets will compete for the top prize of $750 and the title of Poet Laureate of the Spadra Valley. The season finale challenge is to write three poems about things that matter.

Project Poet began in 2006 as the brainchild of Ozarks’ Professor of English Dr. David Strain and his former colleague, Dr. Kendrick Prewitt. The competition challenges students to draw on their creative writing skills and their wit, and is open to students from any program on campus.

For more information about the competition, including details about each challenge and a list of the winning poets for each week, see

"Be Your Captain"
Copyright 2012 Jacqueline Jurcik

An ocean ebbs and flows with each tide’s roll
And there upon the dock a vessel sleek;
So carve your path and take the ship, your soul.

No fear, explore!
And place the oar on thole 
And stroke, push off, find wind, set sail to seek
Waters that ebb and flow with each tide’s roll

May peaceful winds find you at each bells toll
As every hour melts from day to week.
Dear captain of your ship and of your soul

Although rough winds in sail may take their toll
Spit in its face and know although its bleak
Life’s ocean ebbs and flows with each tide’s roll

Stand armed against the pain it tries to dole
From stem to stern your ship may groan and creak
Take charge, captain your ship, and steer your soul.

Let nothing, no one, keep you from your goal
So chart your course, let nothing make you weak
Life’s ocean ebbs and flows with each tide’s roll.
Be captain of your ship and of your soul.