The Evanston Public Library Tuesday announced the winners of the 36th Annual Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards and said the winners have been invited to read their poems, along with Illinois poet laureate Kevin Stein, at the award ceremony in May.

Stein, the state’s fourth poet laureate and author of eight poetry collections, was the judge of the competition. The ceremony, to be held May 4 at 2 p.m. at the library, is free and open to the public.

Winner of this year’s First Prize award in the adult category is Jessica L. Freeman of Chicago for her poem, “North Winds on Steps at Northwestern.” Ann Hudson of Evanston won Second Prize for her poem “Deep Thirst,” and Susan T. Moss, also of Evanston, won Third Prize for her poem, “The Encounter.”

Honorable Mentions in this category went to: Diane dos Santos of Evanston for “Giraffes and Other Animals Falling,” to Victoria Raphael of Evanston for “Putting Her Dignity On,” to Alfred D. Klinger of Chicago for “Open Up to Love,” and to Cele Bona of Gurnee for “in the blank time.”

Emma Rosengarten of Evanston Township High School has won First Prize in the High School category for her poem “the light that isn’t orange.” Balen Maciel, a student at Buffalo Grove High School, won Second Prize for the poem “Purple Pineapples” and Third Prize goes to Laurianne Pene of ETHS for her work entitled, “I Am the New Ginger.” 

Honorable Mentions: Stefani Lah of Buffalo Grove High School for “Bardwell,” Lesya Bazylewicz of New Trier Township High School for “No Fags in Here,” and Annie Umbanhowar of ETHS for “Winter Break.”

The elementary and middle school categories are open only to Evanston school students. Miriam Berne of Nichols Middle School won First Prize for her poem “Drugs in Reality.” Second Prize belongs to Max Newman of Haven Middle School for his work entitled “Spit,” and Third Prize was awarded to Teddy Lambert, also a Haven student for his poem, “What It’s Like to be Jewish.”

Honorable mentions were awarded to these Middle School entrants: JJ Shankar for his poem “Chennai,” Joe Blanchard of Haven Middle School for “Dance!”, Christie Lamothe also of Haven, for “Where I’m From,” Maya Mahoney, Haven as well, for her poem “The Yearbook.” Honorable Mention also goes to Nina Kaushikkar of Baker Demonstration School for her poem “The Passing of Time.” 

Winners in the elementary school category are: First Prize to Lila Garfield of Dawes Elementary School for her poem “Head Out the Window,” Second Prize to Regan Christensen of Oakton Elementary School for her poem, “Chicago,” Third Prize is awarded to Charlotte Lee McMaster of Walker Elementary School for her poem “Finger Science,” and Honorable Mention goes to Rachel Gelhausen of King Arts for her poem “From a Cat’s Eyes.” 

There were 724 total entries to this year’s contest. Adult category: 247 entries; High School category: 252 entries; Middle School category: 173 entries; and 52 entries for the Elementary School category. 

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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