2023 First Place High School Poetry

"The Bank of the Blood River" by Sidney Morgan Conduff, Caddo Parish Magnet High School

Poet's Statement

My piece addresses the consequences of allowing the horrors and warnings of genocide to go unheeded and untaught the new generations. I tried to bridge the gap between the human psyche and the stages of prejudice, and how exactly prejudice festers in the minds of otherwise normal individuals. I connected and contrasted the Holocaust and Rwandan Genocide to describe the horrors of killing on a mass scale, and how ultimately, both the victims and the perpetrators suffer under the yolk of prejudice. I desired to create a piece with a disjointed atmosphere to reflect the insidious way in which prejudice enters the soul, and I tried to infuse a regretful, dark tone into the writing to emphasize the devastation that prejudice causes to all caught in its wake by focusing on two young boys who have learned and perpetrated terrible acts.