Ahwatukee Foothills resident Peter John Sucato was recognized this month at the Phoenix Sister Cities International Competition for Writers with Disabilities ceremony at the Disability Empowerment Center in Phoenix.
Out of 116 entries Sucato was selected June 11 as the third-place winner for his poem Fox Hole.
The competition was open to residents of Phoenix or a sister city who are 19 years or older and have a disability. Entries had to be unpublished 32-line poems that went along with the theme “Reflections on Life.”
Sucato’s mother, Christyn Sucato, said her son isn’t an experienced poetry writer, but he decided to submit several entries to the competition as a personal challenge.
Sucato, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and a learning disability, overcame the challenge of writing to create an emotionally powerful poem, said Christyn Sucato.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon addressed the participants in a statement for the event and said, “The creativity you have demonstrated through your poetry exemplifies not only your individual efforts but the capabilities of persons with disabilities.”
Christyn Sucato said her son was inspired to write the poem while thinking about friends and current soldiers in the war.
In the poem a dying soldier recounts stages of his adolescence. At the end of the poem the teenager wakes up from this dream only to be handed a draft card on his birthday.
Sucato read his original poem to a crowd during the awards event, and then he was awarded a plaque and a check for $150.
Sucato is a graduate of the East Valley Institute of Technology and plans on pursuing a future in electronics and robotics. He also is interested in promoting disability awareness.
“Peter wants people to focus on people’s strengths and not their disabilities,” Christyn Sucato said.
For more information about next year’s writing competition and the International Competition for Artists with Disabilities in the fall, call (602) 534-7357 or visit phoenixsistercities.org.
Erica Tiffany is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at ASU.