Sylvia Plath at Smith


Contest open from September 1, 2014 to December 1, 2014

Award: $500

Judge for 2014: Natalie Diaz

The winner & three finalists will read their poems at the Judge's reading

at Smith College on April 7th, 2015.


2013 Winner:

Maria Theano Juran (St. Luke’s School), for “you don’t know anything so don’t even”


Courtney Breiner (Emma Willard School), for “Sweetheart, you were rude”
Ruting Li (Milton Academy), for “Ode to Summer Storms”
Isabelle Ness (Northampton High School), for “When No One’s Watching”


Elizabeth Cappello (Pioneer Valley Performing Arts), for “self-indulgent suburban song”
Irene Chung (Westover School), for “A Memory of the Well”
Marie Isabelle Doyle (Emma Willard School), for “an Gorta Mór”
Erin Fishman (Chatham High School), for “Sweeter”
Clara Henderson (The Sharon Academy) for “car radio dies, thinking ensues, cosmos widens”
Dianne Kim (Milton Academy), for “1942, Japanese Occupation of Korea”
LeighAnn Kulpa (Westover School), for “Chrysanthemum”
Afua B. Nsiah (Westover School) for “My Mother’s Dressing Room”
Jesse Saffeir (Merriconeag Waldorf School), for “Island”
Amanda Grace Shu (Melrose High School), for “Azure”
Madeleine Specht (Wachusett Regional High School), for “my girl”


The Poetry Center at Smith College was founded in 1998 with the goals of bringing distinguished poets to the College, creating a video archive of their readings, promoting an appreciation of poetry in the larger community through outreach to schools. The Poetry Center celebrates Smith’s long and illustrious relationship with such world-renowned poets as Sylvia Plath, W.H. Auden, Richard Wilbur, and Adrienne Rich.



Natalie Diaz

Judge 2014


NATALIE DIAZ's experiences growing up on a Mojave Indian reservation inform her exciting poetry debut, When My Brother Was an Aztec. Praised by New York Times reviewer Eric McHenry as an "ambitious˙ beautiful book," this collection grapples with poverty, drug addiction, and encounters with the law. Formerly a professional basketball player, Diaz now directs a Mojave language revitalization program. Her work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, and Best New Poets, and she received the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship.

Past judges: Naomi Shihab Nye * Sharon Olds * Maxine Kumin



View the 2012 winners

View the 2011 winners

View the 2010 winners

View the 2009 winners

View the 2008 winners

View the 2007 winners

From Sylvia Plath's journal, Smith College, April 27, 1953