Credit: Courtesy

The competition was fierce, with 156 writers competing for poetic fame and fortune in our National Poetry Month poetry contest in honor of U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s visit to UC Santa Barbara this week. Judged by a panel of distinguished poets that included Robert Krut (UCSB Writing Program, College of Creative Studies), Melinda Palacio (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate 2023-2025), and Chryss Yost (Santa Barbara Poet Laureate 2013-2015), as well as Limón, who made the final selections from the pool of honorable mentions, the entries were divided into two categories, K-12 students and adults age 18+.

By category, the winners were:

Winner: Marley Bernsen, untitled, “what about the wanderers”

Winner: Rodda Leage Leonardi, “Cathedrals”

Honorable Mention recognition went to:

Honorable Mention: Lila Kia-Keating, “When You’ve Reached the Meadows”

Honorable Mention: Arianna Guandique-Diaz, “The Blooming of the Soul”

The first-place award-winning poems will be published in the print edition of the Santa Barbara Independent on April 27, 2023. Each winner will also receive a copy of Limón’s book The Hurting Kind, a $50 gift certificate to Chaucer’s Books and a $500 UCSB Arts & Lectures ticket voucher good through 2024.

Thank you so much to all of the judges and participants. 


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