Carnegie Mellon University Home

Dietrich College News

Watch a video of Claire Matway reading "Squint."

January 2012

2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Awards

Poetry: High School

First Place

Squint
Claire Matway,
12th grade, Pittsburgh CAPA


And it’s Uncle Steve’s house with the rough blue couches and bright lamps
and deer heads on the walls and sandwich materials
piled on the long low table in the kitchen;
it’s three dogs and a view of wintry hills and red-lit radio towers;
Christmas Eve means
five cousins sprawled on the wooden floor amidst
crumpled wrapping paper and gift cards for T.J. Maxx,
a semicircle of aunts, uncles, grandparents
leaning in from folding chairs, cycling
by age through piles of gifts. Christmas Eve means
my uncle’s best friend is standing by the tree, beer in hand,
gray stubble and plaid shirt and manly as ever
(and you will not know it by watching,
but he and my uncle are best friends in the sense that
they will never leave each other their whole lives,
that they are each other’s
arms). They will not live together
because this is rural Pennsylvania and
they would just be fags—

my uncle’s lover stands by the Christmas tree,
squinty-eyed and chuckling and then
he is next-oldest in the age cycle of
gift-unwrapping (I am picking at the tag of
a magenta velour hoodie I will never wear)
and Mama hands him a calendar for the new year,
pictures of skylines planted in its gloss and
he is surprised and brandishing his beer and laughing and
“Twenty years I’ve been coming to Christmas! This
is the first damn present I ever got!” and his squinty eyes
could almost be watery, but the room is too even or soft
with the rumble of my family talking and
“First present I get in twenty freakin’ years!” and
Christmas Eve means
my grandmother’s on the couch laughing,
picking at a candy wrapper; I am
blinking at the wrong none of us ever saw and at
the plastic-wrapped square of cardboard and skylines
that forms a different story, tucked gently
under a plaid-clad arm. Christmas Eve means
the little pile of presents that forms by his chair the following year
and the sense of “Yeah, you dumb or something? Those are yours!”

View the complete list of the 2012 Martin Luther King, Jr. Writing Award winners.

Stay connected with CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Twitter and Facebook.

Other sources of Carnegie Mellon news include the university news service website and the Carnegie Mellon Today magazine.

Contact Shilo Rea, Director of Public Relations at shilo@cmu.edu or (412) 268-6094.

 

About the Quick Links

Follow the Dietrich College on Twitter and Facebook.
Sign up to receive Dietrich College News, the college's monthly e-newsletter.

  Four Dietrich College Graduates Receive Fulbright Awards
From addressing clean water shortages in urban Mexican communities to teaching English in Brazil, Germany, Montenegro and Turkey, five recent CMU graduates – four from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences – will be making a global impact through this year’s Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Read more.
  Dietrich College News: July 2014
Features this month include new autism and health psychology research, what the World Cup and the Russian Revolution have in common, alumni stories, faculty accomplishments and much more. Read Dietrich College News.
  Autism Stems Mostly From Common Genes
Using new statistical tools, Kathryn Roeder has led an international team of researchers to discover that most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches. Read more.
  International Impact of the Humanities
Sports fans may have had their eyes on Brazil as it hosts the 2014 World Cup, but beyond the soccer fields, the country is facing a different form of competition. Many of the issues are eerily similar to those raised in the 1917 Russian Revolution, putting historian Wendy Goldman's work in the spotlight. Read more.
  Only 25 Minutes of Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Stress
Mindfulness meditation has become an increasingly popular way for people to improve their mental and physical health, yet most research supporting its benefits has focused on lengthy, weeks-long training programs. Read more.
  Save the Date: Celebrating the Work of Steven Klepper
The Dietrich College and Department of Social and Decision Sciences will hold an academic conference and community memorial event on October 17, 2014 to celebrate the work of Steven Klepper. Read more (pdf).
  Heavily Decorated Classrooms Disrupt Attention and Learning In Young Children
Published in Psychological Science, CMU's Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin and Howard Seltman looked at whether classroom displays affected children's ability to maintain focus during instruction and to learn the lesson content. They found that children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed. Read more.   Watch a video.
  Four Students Begin Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program
The program provides summer funding to rising seniors in the Dietrich College's senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. In this video, the four students participating in program's inaugural year discuss their projects which range from relationship research to anthropology and ethnography studies. Watch the videoFind out more about the program.
  Mapping the Future of the Humanities and Social Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University — which has a long history of the humanities and social sciences collaborating with other fields to solve problems — and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences held the first Pittsburgh-area discussion of the "Heart of the Matter" report and its implications for improving education and creating a sustainable global society. Read more.   Watch the video.  View photos.
  New Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program Announced
The program will provide summer funding support to rising seniors in the Dietrich College senior honors program as they undertake early-stage research and development of their thesis topics. Read more.
  Richard Scheines Appointed Dean of Dietrich College
Scheines, professor and head of the Department of Philosophy, has been selected to lead the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences as dean, effective July 1, 2014. He will succeed John Lehoczky, who has served as dean since 2000 and will return to the Department of Statistics’ faculty. Read more.
  Students, Alumni Attend Under Construction
Nearly 60 alumni returned to support 150 current students and help them build their careers. The second annual “Under Construction: Building Your Future” event encouraged students and alumni to explore the diverse fields available after graduation. Read more.
  Video: The Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University
The Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences is proud to have distinguished faculty and talented students who are leading the humanities into the 21st century. In this short video, Dietrich College faculty, staff and alumni talk about the college’s excellence in the humanities. Watch the video.

 

H&SS Home | Admissions | Advising & Careers | Departments & Programs | Research | Computing & Libraries | News | Alumni

Site Index | About H&SS | Message from the Dean

 

Carnegie Mellon University
College of Humanities & Social Sciences | 5000 Forbes Avenue | Baker Hall 154 | Pittsburgh, PA 15213 | (412) 268-2830