Student Uses Heights Upbringing as Subject Matter


Brooklynite Vincenzo Ciccone’s poem about local experiences won the Truman Capote Scholarship for creative writing. Photo by Maria T. Orro, International Tennis Federation, courtesy of James Ciccone

Vincenzo Ciccone used his experience of growing up in Brooklyn Heights as his inspiration for a poem that won him the 2015-16 Truman Capote Scholarships for creative writing at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Ciccone, a senior at the university, and fellow student Huda Afandeh each won $14,000 in scholarship support for the following academic year.

His poem is titled “Deaf,” and references him looking out across the East River at the Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn poet John Hoppenthaler judged the contest, hosted by universities across the country through the Truman Capote Foundation.

“This is a skillfully wrought poem of place, one that reveals contemporary urban anxiety and dissatisfaction with carefully chosen images, telling character actions and precise metaphors,” Hoppenthaler commented on Ciccone’s winning poem. “The poem’s closure doesn’t seek to insist itself with some pat or cliché resolution; rather, it allows the reader to leave the power with the image of the bleaker side of New York City, of any city, and a profound understanding of ‘deafness’ as it relates to isolation and our cultural movement.”

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