Susan R. Williamson, director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and Blaise Allen, Ph.D., director of community outreach for the Festival, today announced the winners of the annual Palm Beach County High School Poetry Contest. . The 18th Annual Poetry Festival begins today and will run until January 15, 2022.
In addition to the cash prizes, each of the five winning poets will also receive a one-year subscription to Poets and Writers Literary Journal, and their poems have been published online on the official Festival website.
The top prize of $200 went to Alyssa Jean-Louis of Royal Palm Beach, a senior at the AW Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. She won for her poem Heritage? Her sponsoring teacher is Ms. Brittany Rigdon.
The next four $100 winners are ranked in order of arrival:
+ David Levinson, a junior at Jupiter Community High School, for his lost spaceman poem. Her sponsor teacher is Mrs. Danielle Steyn.
+ Priya Gowda, of Jupiter, freshman at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem Unbelonging. The sponsoring teacher is Ms. Rigdon.
+ Kaja Andric, from West Palm Beach, a senior at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem Ocean. Her sponsor teacher is Mrs. Rigdon.
+ Sarah-Lyse Kirsteen Exume, a senior at Wellington Community High School for her poem This Side of my Skin. Her sponsor teacher is Ms. Silkia Aviles.
“This year, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival High School Poetry Contest received nearly 200 submissions,” Dr. Allen said. “We are grateful to our contest judge, Dr. Jeff Morgan of Lynn University in Boca Raton, for once again choosing this year’s winners.”
“The Poetry Festival has been honored to work with high school teachers across Palm Beach County for a decade and a half. We have visited hundreds of classrooms to discuss the art of poetry and encourage students to write original poems. Each year, we are impressed by the quality of their work. Many of our past winners have gone on to college to become teachers themselves, and we are always hopeful that students will continue to discover the delights that offers us poetry,” she adds. “As famous poet Carolyn Forche has pointed out, there is something in poetry that you can’t find anywhere else.”
About the Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2022:
The 18th annual, all-virtual Palm Beach Poetry Festival will be held January 10-15, 2022. Highlights will include presentations by:
+ Special guest poet Yusef Komunyakaa, recipient of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Kingsley Tufts Prize for Poetry, and the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize Lifetime Achievement Award.
+ Poet-at-Large Aimee Nezhukumatathil, winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship and the prestigious Pushcart Prize.
Palm Beach Poetry Festival award-winning poets in 2022 include Kim Addonizio, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Chard deNiord, Mark Doty, Yona Harvey, John Murillo, Mathew Olzmann and Diane Seuss.
The Festival is generously sponsored by Art Works of the National Endowment for the Arts, Morgan Stanley, The Legacy Group of Morgan Stanley’s Atlanta, GA office, the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County, The Tourist Development Council of Palm Beach County; the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners, The Palm Beach Post, a grant from Visit Florida, WLRN-FM and Murder on the Beach, Delray Beach’s independent bookseller.
In 2010, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival received an Arts Challenge Fellowship from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; and in 2011 received the Muse Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization (with a budget under $500,000) by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.
For more information on the 18th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival, including a full program and workshop descriptions, as well as biographical information and links to the work of all featured poets, please visit Festival website at www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.