Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize Literature Poetry

Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize – 2020

The Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize is sponsored by the English Department at CCSU. It was created by former English professor Barry Leeds to celebrate the memory of his daughter Leslie.

2020 Prize Poems

Winner— Anna Christiano

Finalist: Makenzie Ozycz

Finalist: Nehway Sahn

Judge: Professor Burlin Barr

2020 Winner

The Ghost Haunting My Bedroom Wants Me to Go Outside

By Anna Christiano

The ghost is stealing my gloves again.

Sometimes I wear them to bed

I have always had cold hands.

Otherwise I keep them in my coat

all on the same hanger in my closet

the scarf looped around the neck

the gloves tucked into the pocket.

When I reach for them

they aren’t there

and the lights flicker.

The rooms are colder now

thanks to the ghost.

The electric heaters only work

when I am feeling particularly alive.

The ghost likes when I wear red lipstick

the kind that tastes like crayon.

He likes when I paint my nails bright colors

the strong, cheap whiskey smell of the nail polish remover

removing imperfections one cotton swab at a time.

I know how ghosts work by now.

The third time I left the shower

hearts in the fogged-up mirror I didn’t draw

and the bed was made for the first time in weeks

the dress I never wore laid across the blanket

my ratty pajama shorts back in the drawer

I knew.

I put on the dress

the coat

the scarf looped around the neck

the gloves.

It is uncomfortably warm when the ghost is not around.

The electric heaters only work

when I am feeling particularly alive.

2020 Finalists

My Town

By Makenzie Ozycz

The church bells in my town are the powerful hands of god.

Under a cotton ball moon all things seem

Fuzzy, imaginary, youthful. Too

Many hands that touch two narrow, shaking shoulders.

The cracks in the sidewalk sing songs of grief.

All eyes go up when the astronauts land in the movie theater parking lot.

There are ghost girls & the rabid animals who

Seek the meat.

Playful, treacherous, a vine of berries

Smashed by the weight of heavy, dead moss.

The bells beat, violent, repeat, again.

All the eyes in the town

Close at the same time.


By Nehway Sahn


you died when the train

conductor failed to covet

your path with gum

and loose change.


they misted god

on the bamboo stuck

under your grave.



four chrysanthemums.


i hate chrysanthemums.

Anna Christiano is a sophomore at Central Connecticut State University. She is majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Creative Writing. Her work has been featured in various student-run magazines.

Makenzie Ozycz is a graduate student at Central Connecticut State University. Nehway Sahn is a senior at Central Connecticut State University.

Blue Muse Magazine is a general interest literary magazine published by the students of the English Department at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. We publish poetry, fiction, and a gamut of creative nonfiction on anything and everything the blue muse inspires us to write.

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