Miles Coon, director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and Blaise Allen, the festival’s director of community outreach, have announced the winners of the annual High School Poetry Contest. This year’s prize poets are two seniors from Wellington High School, two sophomores from the Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches and a freshman at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach.
The first-place prize (two passes to the festival and $100) was awarded to Kaylee Oh, a senior at Wellington High School, for her poem “Advice.”
The next four winners, who will each receive two festival passes and $25, are in order of their placement: Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches sophomore Charlotte Kirk, for her poem “Changing Seasons”; WHS senior Sierra Pelizza, for the poem “One Request”; Oxbridge Academy sophomore Samuel Dash, for his poem “The Attic”; and Dreyfoos School of the Arts freshman Rachel Labes, for her poem “One Man’s Beginning, Another’s End.”
The contest is open to Palm Beach County public and private high school students, and Dr. Jeff Morgan judged nearly 300 entries. In addition to the festival passes and cash prizes, the winning students will have their poems published on the festival’s web site at www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
In addition, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival’s annual High School Performance Poetry Project included special appearances on Jan. 25 by award-winning poets Marty McConnell and Rives, at Spanish River High School and Wellington High School.
Eight of America’s most gifted poets, including the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, taught workshops for qualified writers of poetry and shared public readings and panel discussions, including former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Tracy K. Smith, the most recent Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry.
The Palm Beach Poetry Festival is sponsored by Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney, the Windler Group of Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney’s Atlanta Office; the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Tourism Development Council and the Board of Commissioners of Palm Beach County; the Palm Beach Post; WPBI-FM Classical South Florida; and Murder on the Beach, Delray Beach’s independent bookseller. All events take place in the Crest Theatre and Vintage Gymnasium of Old School Square in Delray Beach.
Last year, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival received the prestigious Muse Award for Outstanding Arts & Cultural Organization (budget under $500,000) from the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. In 2010, the festival received an Arts Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
For additional information about the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, visit www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.
Above: Poetry contest winners Sierra Pelizza, Kaylee Oh, Rachael Labes, Charlotte Kirk and Samuel Dash.