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Patience and Commitment

ONU junior Rachel Cruea is the 2016 recipient of the Adroit Prize for Poetry.

Rachel Cruea grew up with a love for reading and writing. Her passion for language, which she attributes to her college professor parents’ unwavering support, has been an ever-present part of her life since childhood. Now just a junior at Ohio Northern University, this creative writing and literature major from Findlay, Ohio, is already making her mark on the literary world.

Cruea was recently awarded the 2016 Adroit Prize in Poetry for her poem, “The Yellow Marrow Doesn’t Matter,” a fiercely personal account of her younger brother’s battle with primary bone lymphoma. In choosing Cruea’s poem, judge Corey Van Landingham wrote, “This gorgeous, unswerving poem holds great power in its address to an ill sibling. Never florid, never easily sentimental, this poet knows: Illness is not grand.”

Read "The Yellow Marrow Doesn't Matter"

Cruea requires only 127 words to convince us of what it’s like to bear witness to cancer. Each line seems inspired by a different emotion: Regret. Confusion. Sadness. Anger. It’s as if she captures a whole chapter of her life in one verse.

Writing poetry is my passion,” she says. “I have really come in to my own style and learned how to not only write well, but also do so with patience and commitment.

Cruea’s father, Mark, teaches communications at ONU, and her mother, Susan, is an English professor at Bowling Green State University. Cruea can trace her informal education in creative writing to her parents reading to her as a child. As she got older, they continued to support her interests in writing and actively encouraged her to read a variety of literary genres and texts.

“Poetry is my preferred genre, and while I came to the realization that I wanted to write poetry on my own, my exposure to all types of writing before this moment was very helpful in that process,” she says.

Cruea’s formal training in creative writing began with her decision to attend ONU. Her current advisor, Dr. Jennifer Moore, assistant professor of creative writing, personally reached out to her to share what the English department could offer. Now in her third year at ONU, Cruea enjoys the strong, intimate community she finds in her department. The small class sizes and one-on-one attention from professors are exactly what she was looking for in a college, and she has been impressed with the vast number of opportunities available to students despite the size and location of the school.

There are so many more opportunities for English majors than people realize, and ONU has definitely taught me that after fine-tuning my writing and analytical capabilities, I will have a lot to offer to the world.

Outside of the classroom, Cruea, stays active on and off campus. She has taken trips to conferences with her department; worked as an administrative assistant for the summer Sakae program at ONU, which helps international students (typically from Japan and China) with their adjustment to American life and learning the English language; and stayed active in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. Additionally, she is the editor-in-chief for ONU’s Polaris Literary Magazine, where she has gained real-world editorial experience, and, like her The Adroit Journal brethren, judged and selected works for inclusion.

The Adroit Prize is awarded annually by The Adroit Journal to two students of secondary or undergraduate status whose written work in prose and poetry “inspires the masses to believe beyond feeling the work.” To put even a finer point on it, The Adroit Journal website declares, “We strive to receive the absolute best work from emerging young writers in high school and college, and the best of the best will receive these two lovely awards.”

Our thoughts exactly.

—Hannah Peterson, a senior public relations major, contributed to this story.