Harry Potter’s aunt names Creative Writing student as Hopkins Poetry Prize winner

Second year Creative Writing student, Katherine Gutierrez scooped the 2015 Hopkins Poetry Prize for her poem Luz Mala.

Posted: 27 May 2015

image for news story Harry Potter’s aunt names Creative Writing student as Hopkins Poetry Prize winner
Fiona Shaw, best known as Harry Potter's aunt Petunia in the film series, gave the third annual Hopkins Lecture at the University on 19 May 2015.

The Hopkins Poetry Prize is a student poetry competition established by the University of Roehampton to coincide with its annual Hopkins Lecture, which this year was given by director, producer and Harry Potter actress, Fiona Shaw on 19 May.  

Katherine was named as the winner of the poetry competition by Head of the English and Creative Writing Department, Professor Laura Peters, after the lecture, who also presented her with her prize of £250. 

The prize was judged by Dr Louise Lee, and Professor David Harsent, recent winner of the TS Eliot Prize. 

Professor Harsent said: “Katherine's poem uses a light touch to produce a profound effect. The apparently casual – sometimes almost offhand – tone delivers deeper, darker things. The touchstone images – Luz Mala, La Ciguapa, Our Lady of Guadalupe, reinforce the carefully organised lines which – paradoxically - are at their most powerful when the first-person delivery seems to be merely – one might almost say innocently and therefore deceptively – conversational. Read and re-read, this poem is a little time-bomb.”

The two runners up, Jeremiah Hughes and Rufus Williams, also received a prize of £50 each. All of the shortlisted students read their poems in front of the Hopkins Lecture guests during the event, which was held at the University’s Whitelands College.

Students were asked to submit either one poem of no more than 500 words or a series of thematically related poems totalling no more than 500 words.

Luz Mala by Katherine Gutierrez

We sat in Copala
Aztec eyes with crackled fingers
Sing blue I thought someone
Must have said

Who do you love?
John Lennon
And you?
Frida Kahlo

We had a babysitter
From Sinaloa
She had a deep dark voice
She talked in her sleep
To me
I watched her in the dark

A la roro ya

Don’t stop I thought
I love your voice

La Ciguapa lives in the silver mines
They say
She is hungry for men
Perhaps they should not have hurt her

She lost her baby
To the desert snake

She became wild like the devil
In red pantaloons

Now she is the monster
The men say
She is not a mother

Heal me
Luz Mala
I have fallen in love with the wrong person

Pray to Our Lady Guadalupe
She is covered in Castilian roses
But he gives me roses too
What should I do oh
what should I do

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