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The Poetry Center's 13th annual Corrido Contest deadline is fast approaching this Friday, December 7th at 5 p.m. (this is a postmark deadline). All Arizona high school students (grades 9-12) are encouraged to apply by writing corridos in Spanish and/or English. For resources on teaching corrido in the classroom, visit our Teaching Corrido page. To enter this year's Corrido Contest, please click here.
With the Corrido contest deadline fast approaching, Wordplay had a chance to sit down with one of last year's Corrido winners--Jamie Navarrette--and ask her about her Corrido contest experience. Jamie was a freshman when she won third place in the Corrido contest last year. She is now a sophomore at Sunnyside High School. Check out our interview with her, as well as her winning corrido, below.
WP: When did you first hear about the Corrido contest? Were you familiar with the corrido form prior to the contest?
JN: I heard about the Corrido Contest from my Spanish teacher; it was an assignment for class. I knew what a corrido was, but I didn't know there was a contest about it.
WP: Who/what inspired you to write your corrido titled, "Corrido Terminado?"
JN: My Mom helped me and encouraged me along the way. But I had gone through so many ideas, and none of them worked, so I decided to write about how I couldn't write a corrido.
WP: Unlike the other two winning corridos, your corrido is characterized by humor. It's really funny! In the corrido, you even admit, "I didn't dare think it could win. It wouldn't compare to first place. Any ribbon on it would be blank. If anything, it would say last place." Do you think that this humor helped your corrido stand out from the rest?
JN: It could have, because I don't think anyone else would've done that.
WP: Can you explain your writing process for us? What was it like to write this corrido? How long did it take you to write it?
JN: It was the first time I wrote one. I was writing a bunch of different corridos the whole afternoon, until I finally decided on the final one. The final one took me about an hour to write.
WP: How did you re-act when out of over 400 submissions, your corrido was one of the three winners?
JN: I was surprised. I really didn't think I'd get it.
WP: Do you have any advice for students who want to write a corrido, but may be intimidated by the process?
JN: Well, I'd say if they really want to do it, that everyone who enters has a chance. So, there's a good chance they could win it. I would say any ideas you have, just make them work for you. Whatever they think stands out for them. Work on it and make it work. It might win in the end.
WP: What was the whole corrido performance and awards ceremony like for you? Were you excited, nervous to read your winning poem aloud in front of an audience? What advice would you give for next year's winners, who will be reading their poems aloud, as well?
JN: I was very nervous. It was okay; it wasn't that bad. I would just say don't make eye contact with people, if that helps. This helps with the nervousness. Just stay calm, and be proud of your poem.
Now, without further ado, please enjoy Jamie's winning Corrido poem...
I could not think of a corrido.
I just sat there for awhile,
thinking, but not about writing,
and staring at the tile.
I knew I could not waste any more time,
But something was wrong with my brain.
I could not focus on working,
All thoughts going down the drain.
But slowly, ideas appeared.
I wrote the best I could.
It turns out anything I thought of
really ended up no good.
My ideas were not working.
I was running out of time.
I was starting just to scribble,
and write down any rhyme.
I kept asking my mom for help,
because I thought I would be done;
unlike my younger brother and sister,
I am not the creative one.
At the end of the day,
It was actually complete.
It was the silliest thing,
and wasn't good enough to compete.
I didn't dare think it could win;
It wouldn't compare to first place.
Any ribbon on it would be blank;
If anything, it would say last place.
Luckily, we had more time to work.
I took out a piece of paper
and started a new corrido,
but changed it again later.
In the end, I came up with this.
It is still not the best;
It is not even close,
But I can put my worry to rest.
Photo by Cybele Knowles