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Senior Wins Ragan Poetry Prize

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Apr 9, 2013

April 9, 2013

Kaitlyn Hlebechuk, a senior economics and English major from Jeannette, has won first place and a $500 cash prize in the 17th annual Ragan Poetry Competition at Saint Vincent College for her poem, “Wanting to Level the Scales.”

The award will be presented by Michelle Gil-Montero, assistant professor of English at Saint Vincent College, and College President Br. Norman Hipps, O.S.B., at the Spring Honors Convocation in Saint Vincent Basilica on Wednesday, April 24.

Other Ragan Poetry winners include Brittany Banks, a senior English major from North Irwin, second place for her poem, “Hail Holy Ovary,” and Joshua Flynn, a senior art major from Sterling, VA, third place for his poem, “This Painting Is About Falling in Love.”

The winners were announced at an event on March 26 where the competition’s judge, Carmen Gimenez Smith, read her poetry. Smith is the author of a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds, three poetry collections – Goodbye, Flicker, The City She Was and Odalisque in Pieces – and three poetry chapbooks – Reason’s Monsters, Can We Talk Here and Glitch. She has also co-edited a fiction anthology, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. She is the winner of a 2011 American Book Award. She teaches in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University and Ashland University while serving as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Sol and the publisher of Noemi Press.

Established to recognize and encourage student writing of poetry, the Ragan Poetry Prize competition is made possible by a gift from Dr. James Ragan, a 1966 graduate of Saint Vincent College who also was honored by Saint Vincent in 1990 with the conferral of an honorary doctoral degree. Ragan is the former director of the University of Southern California’s graduate professional writing program and professor of poetry at the University of Oklahoma. Ragan’s poetry has been awarded the Emerson Poetry Prize, the Gertrude Claytor Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, the Walt Whitman Center Book Award and the PEN Center West Poetry Prize. A Fulbright Senior Lecturer to China and Yugoslavia, he has read his work extensively in Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, including the Moscow International Poetry Forum of 1985 and 1990.


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