Creative writing student earns best new poet accolade

FIU graduate student Annik Adey-Babinski is living her dream of studying and writing poetry in a serious way.

Currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the FIU Creative Writing Program, her creative work is already being recognized with publication in Best New Poets 2014.

“It’s a huge honor and very exciting,” Adey-Babinski said. “I first became familiar with Best New Poets after I bought a copy five years ago, so to be included in it now is surreal. I never envisioned my poem would end up there one day.”

Annik Adey-Babinski plays one of her poetry karaoke videos at the first O, Miami Poetry Karaoke Night in April 2014.

Annik Adey-Babinski plays one of her poetry karaoke videos at the first O, Miami Poetry Karaoke Night in April 2014. (Photo courtesy of Gesi Schilling, O, Miami.)

Best New Poets is an annual anthology of 50 poems from emerging writers. A guest editor selects poems from nominations made by literary magazines, writing programs and an open internet competition. This year’s anthology – edited by Dorianne Laux, an award-winning poet and author –  was published in November.

Adey-Babinski’s poem “Wash Bucket” was nominated for publication by Salamander, a literary magazine covering poetry, fiction and memoirs. Inspired by a dream her boyfriend had more than one year ago, the poem is 161 words in length and follows the journey of a wayward man who has left to battle his demons and has now returned to heal others, including a sick blue bird.

“It’s a really about love and taking care of one another,” Adey-Babinski says. “There’s a feeling you get when you read a good poem. Even if you’re not exactly sure what the writer is talking about, there’s still a feeling of  ‘I get what she’s saying,’ If someone could feel that when they read my poem, that would be nice.”

“Wash Bucket” follows the golden shovel poetic form where the author takes a line from a poem she admires; uses each word in the as an end word in her new poem; keeps the end words in order; and gives credit to the poet who originally wrote the line. Adey-Babinski crafted her poem as a nod to “Yellowjackes” written by one of her favorite poets, Yusef Koumunyakaa.

“I’m a huge fan of his,” she says. “Every single word he uses is electric. You don’t get boring, flat words. He gives you a lot to work with.”

Adey-Babinski is a Knight Fellow and was awarded a fellowship in poetry in 2012. The fellowship has afforded her time to teach 10th and 11th grade poetry at Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH) and to practice her craft.

“My favorite spot to write is on the boat launch overlooking the bay at the Biscayne Bay Campus,” she  says. “It’s so nice and quiet and there’s even a plug for my laptop.”

Adey-Babinski is a self-described “video poem and Youtube enthusiast.” She creates karaoke videos using poems and Miami bass music. For Miami Book Fair International 2014, she paired William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” with Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby” and Leona Anderson’s “Company” with DJ Laz’s “Mami El Negro Remix.” She also interned at Wolfsonian-FIU, where she coordinated and hosted a poetry day during the O, Miami poetry festival where members of the FIU and local community were welcomed to visit and write about an object in the museum. A native of Ottowa, Canada, she earned a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Communications from McGill University. Adey-Babinski hopes to pursue a career in arts administration and education.