Faster, Higher, Stronger Writing Contest Winner

Anna Francesca
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 8, 2016

The Read Local Committee is pleased to announce Anna Francesca has won our Faster, Higher, Stronger Poetry Contest with her poem Citius, Altius Fortius. We love the poem, especially so close to this time of new year's resolutions, for Francesca's focus on herself and her own strength. The act of always looking forward reminded us a little of Matthew McConaughey's 2014 Oscar acceptance speech in which he declares his hero to be his own future self. We also love the poem's construction with consistent use of natural and mathematical elements throughout. And we especially love Francesca's thoughtful response to our theme Faster, Higher, Stronger. We feel she has risen to the occasion and we're excited to hear her reading at our 2nd Saturday event on August 13th. Tell us what you like about Citius, Altius, Fortius in the comments.

Anna Francesca performed and co-hosted at open mic poetry events in Las Vegas, NV, before moving back to her family in the Kansas City area. Anna Francesca loves performing and has experience with theatre and storytelling. She has worked in libraries for eleven years and has written blog posts at,, and You can also find her on twitter @AnnaFrancesca18.


I don't need to dash swifter than a cheetah,
but I need to run the same distance in less time today than yesterday.
Tomorrow must beat today.
The chart of my progress
will make one sweeping line across the page,
diagonal until there is no more paper to display.
It doesn't matter how slow I am at the start.
What matters is that I begin
because no one remains seated faster than they once did.

I don't need to be able to kick above where an eagle soars,
but my foot must reach higher today than yesterday.
It must be lower than the stretch of tomorrow.
A protractor will track my progress-
moving infinitesimally towards the 180 degree mark,
when my leg will lift parallel to my body.
It doesn't matter how stiff I am at the start.
What matters is that I begin
because no one rigid became lithe by magic.

I don't need to harness more that an ox can bear,
but I need to lift more today than yesterday.
I must heft less than tomorrow.
The stack of weights on my machine
will form an ever-taller bar-graph
with each clank of pounds a victory.
It doesn't matter how weak I am at the start.
What matters is that I begin
because no sedentary muscles have ever developed on their own.

I don't need to move faster, spring higher, prove myself stronger than you,
but I need to best my own accomplishments to call myself

Written by Helen H.

I adore furry faces.