Poetry Festival Names Winners Of 2019 High School Poetry Contest

High School Poetry Contest winners Citlalli Vellaseñor, Yvelande Senatus, Emma Garrett, Eden Brown and Kristen Thies. Photo by Jacek Photo

Susan R. Williamson, director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and Dr. Blaise Allen, the festival’s director of community outreach, recently announced the winners of the annual Palm Beach County High School Poetry Contest.

The $200 first-place prize went to Emma Garrett, 15, from Palm Beach Gardens, a sophomore at the A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, for her poem “A Note Left Under the Universe’s Front Porch.”

The next four $100 winners in order of their finish were: Yvelande Senatus, 16, from Boynton Beach, a junior at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach, for her poem “Woman at Point Zero;” Citlalli Vellaseñor, 18, from Wellington, a senior at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem “Roots: Trapped in the Land of the Free;” Kristen Thies, 17, from Royal Palm Beach, a junior at Wellington High School, for her poem “I’ll Mourn for Me;” and Eden Brown, 18, from Palm Beach Gardens, a senior at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for her poem “Perfectly Balancing.”

“This year the Palm Beach Poetry Festival High School Poetry Contest received more than 320 submissions,” Allen said. “Once again, our discerning judges were Dr. Jeff Morgan from Lynn University in Boca Raton and Professor Lorraine Stanchich-Brown from Nova University.”

The contest works closely with local high schools.

“The Palm Beach Poetry Festival has been honored to work with high school teachers throughout Palm Beach County for nearly a decade and a half,” Allen said. “We have visited hundreds of classrooms to discuss the craft of poetry and encourage students to write original poems, and every year we are amazed by the quality of their submitted work. In fact, many of our past winners have gone to college to become teachers themselves, and we are always hopeful that the festival is nurturing a future poet laureate of the United States.”

The five winning high school poets read their poems at the festival’s award ceremony on Monday, Jan. 21, where they had the opportunity to meet and have their pictures taken with 10 of America’s most distinguished and award-winning poets, as well as have their winning poems published online at www.palmbeachpoetryfestival.org.