April 6, 2021

Program in Creative Writing Announces Winners of 2020-21 Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize

Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020-21 Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize.

The prize, awarded annually, recognizes outstanding work by student writers in the 11th grade in the U.S. or abroad. The winning poems were selected by a jury consisting of Program in Creative Writing faculty, including Michael Dickman, Paul Muldoon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, and Monica Youn.

The winner of first prize is awarded $500, followed by $250 for second prize and $100 for third prize. The winners will be honored during a private virtual celebration on Monday, April 12th.

View the list of honored students below and read their prize-winning poems. Eighteen additional students were awarded honorable mentions.

First Place:
Gaia Rajan, “Simple Machines”
Mason, Ohio

Second Place:
Olivia Yang, “Etymology of Loss”
Charlotte, North Carolina

Third Place:
Olajuwon Abdullah Adedokun, “Photosynthesis”
Lagos/Alimosho/Igando, Nigeria

Honorable Mentions:

Nicholas Budny, “The Séance”
Princeton, New Jersey

Cole Corby, “Gammie”
Howell, Michigan

S.L. Franjola, “Love Poem for a Schoolboy”
New York, New York

Sierra Glassman, “Hum”
Watsonville, California

Emma Goss, “Simple Liberty”
Sherman Oaks, California

Emmalene Hardouin, “A little too melodramatic for my taste”
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Yong-Yu Huang, “RADIUM GIRLS”
Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia

Shreya Khullar, “The Hindi Word for Prayer”
Iowa City, Iowa

Anna LaCombe, “What We Never Saw”
Plainfield, Illinois

Allison Lowe, “The End of the World is Broadcast Live on Cable News”
Pleasant Hill, California

Oliver Moore, “i’m sleep”
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Goodman Murphy-Smith, “Open Window”
Indian Springs Village, Alabama

Logan Szymanski, “Fallen Timber”
Howell, Michigan

Yvanna Vien Tica, “Three Days Without Resurrection”
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Lucy Wang, “Humanity’s Light”
Oxford, Ohio

Katherine Wei, “Growing Pains”
Chandler, Arizona

Thisbe Wu, “The Roach In My Bed”
New York, New York

Isabella Zhou, “Sermon”
Naperville, Illinois

Learn more about the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 High School Poetry Prize, including guidelines and updates on future contests »

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