Pennsbury Junior Named Bucks County High School Poet of the Year

Devin Kawailani Barricklow of Yardley rose to the top of more than 100 entrants in the 27th annual contest.

Devin Kawailani Barricklow, a junior at Pennsbury High School, has been named the 2014 Bucks County High School Poet of the Year, officials at Bucks County Community College announced.  The Yardley resident rose to the top of 104 entries to win the 27th annual contest, part of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program administered by the college.

Barricklow, who was named a finalist last year, won a $300 prize and was honored at a poetry reading May 18 on the college’s Newtown campus. She was joined by runners-up and finalists in a celebration of young poets from across Bucks County. An anthology containing the winning poems and a poem from each entrant, Writes of Passage Vol. 4, was distributed to those in attendance.

Barricklow (pictured; photo by Katia Barricklow) said she has grown up surrounded by literature, and has been writing since she was about five years old.

“My grandfather was an English professor at Rider [University] for many years, and his appreciation for poetry has really opened my eyes,” recalled Barricklow. “I'll never forget when he read ‘Hurt Hawks’ by Robinson Jeffers to my fourth-grade class; he got this sparkle in his eye that made me realize just how important it was to him.” 

In addition, writing is greatly valued in her family and viewed as a gift. “On birthdays, in addition to presents, we read poems aloud to one another,” she added.

“[Writing] appeals to me because you can take really complicated emotions and experiences, and communicate them in a way that might not have made as much sense otherwise,” she said. “Even though it can be frustrating to write poetry at times, I think that if my poems can reach even one person, and help them to process their own emotions and feel validated, then it's worth it. That's why I write.”

Barricklow said she’s checking out colleges to decide where to apply. She’s interested in studying politics, psychology or biology, and plans to continue writing poetry throughout her life.

Contest judges were the current and most recent Bucks County Poets Laureate, Alexa Gutter (2013) and Lara Adams Gaydos (2012).

“These poems shine in their capacity to house so much emotion while maintaining an economy of language,” Gutter noted.  “A wise and inquisitive voice comes through in these limpid poems.”

Gaydos had similar praise for Barricklow’s work.

“These poems echo and ache with all those unexpected difficult moments encountered within a family, moments that might seem as tiny as pin holes at first, yet are still powerful enough to suddenly slam into the drywall of the page,” Gaydos said. 

The judges also chose three runners-up. They are Central Bucks High School East junior Erin Farrell, first runner-up; George School senior Sophie Myles, second runner-up; and C.B. West senior Isabel Cleff, third runner-up.

The 27th annual High School Poet of the Year contest is another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region. To learn more, visit  or call the Dept. of Language and Literature at 215-968-8150.

Entropy of the Hotpot

For Gary


My Grandfather stares at the bibimbap dish below,

crispy rice and hot cucumbersthat I don't quite understand.


he thinks

—out loud, of course—

that it is too hot;

he wants the entropy of the hotpot in

the crowded restaurant.


my tongue is sore from eating—

but what isn't these days?

my belly is at least full with rice

that has not yet cooled


A Hole in Our Drywall


funny, how

spackling was always

your favorite chore

you loved to spread the stuff on the pinholes in our walls,

all we have to do now is sand it


we paved over the nicks

in the stairwell together; life's tears as

dusty little bullet marks


once, our front door knob slammed

through the cheap drywall and

you said, well,

now we get to do some more spackling.


we brought it fresh from the container

but the hole was huge

it just consumed the stuff and

politely asked for more

an amused void

what a chore

Complete list of winners, runners up, and finalists (Name, High School, Grade)

Devin Kawailani Barricklow, Pennsbury High School, 11

1st Runner-up
Erin Farrell, Central Bucks High School East, 11

2nd Runner-up
Sophie Myles, George School, 12

3rd Runner-up
Isabel Cleff, Central Bucks High School West, 12

Finalists (alphabetical order)
Meg Baltes, Central Bucks High School West, 11
Rebecca Choi, Neshaminy High School
Ellen Cicchitti, William Tennent High School, 10
Claire Conte, George School, 10
Casey Crane, Central Bucks High School East, 12
Victoria Deck, Solebury School, 11
Isabelle Di Nallo, Central Bucks High School South, 12
Honor Ford, Central Bucks High School East, 10
Violet Fortier, Central Bucks High School East, 12
Grayson Goga, Central Bucks High School West, 12
Yasasvi Hari, Council Rock High School North, 10
Caroline Kassas, Central Bucks High School East, 10
Shannon Kelly, Central Bucks High School East, 12
Tessa Kettelberger, Central Bucks High School East, 11
Grace Kinter, Central Bucks High School West, 12
Viktoriya Kucherak, Council Rock High School South, 11
Carson LacGreca, Central Bucks High School West, 11
Megan Leahy, Central Bucks High School West, 12
Susie Lenovitz, Solebury School, 11
Hannah McCausland, Central Bucks High School West, 10
Brendan McGuigan, Council Rock High School North, 12
Samantha Mineroff, Central Bucks High School West, 12
Jake Miscio, Central Bucks High School East, 11
Alexandra Morrow, George School, 10
Joshua Reinstein, Solebury School, 11
Addison Rolleri, Central Bucks High School East, 12
Kaytea Sullinger, Central Bucks High School West, 11

Jean Dolan
Assistant Director, Public Relations