Monday, May 1, 2017

Midland College awards $1,300 for Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest

• Winning poems will be published in the Midland College Tableau magazine

From Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events

Nine Midland College (MC) students were honored at the annual Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest on Thursday, April 27.

The annual contest—with $1,300 in prize money going to the top four winning poets—has been called one of the most prestigious in the state. It was established in 1988 to honor the memory of Hilda Simmons Levitt by her husband Stanley. The Levitt’s daughter, Carol Schwartz of Washington, D.C., continues to underwrite the contest.

“We are so grateful to Mrs. Schwartz for her generous contribution and willingness to recognize the creative works of Midland College students,” said MC Department Chair of Technical Writing and Philosophy Brendan Egan who serves as contest coordinator. “The contest inspires our students and encourages them to continue to write.”

For many years, Stanley and Hilda Simmons Levitt owned and managed a successful Midland clothing business on Florida Street. From 1979 until her death in 1986, Mrs. Levitt took creative writing classes at Midland College.

Each year, Midland College English students submit poems for consideration for the contest. This year’s contest judge was Dr. Larry Griffin, former professor of English and chair of Fine Arts and Communications at Midland College. An Oklahoman, Griffin has one book of short stories, eleven books of poetry and more than four hundred poems, hundreds of essays and three dozen short stories in journals to his credit. During the evening’s celebration, a selection of Griffin’s poems was read by Katherine Allen, chair of Modern Languages & Speech at Midland College.

Megan Iverson, wrote the winning poem, “A Blind Sensation.” She received a $600 cash award. Second place winner and recipient of a $400 cash prize was Alex Christian for his poem “Detached.” Brayan Castillo received the third place award and $200 for “Fare Yews.” Fourth place winner and recipient of a $100 cash prize was awarded to Nelida Valles for her poem “Cranes.” Honorable Mention recognition went to Logan Holmes, Michael Larson, Steven O’Dell, Abigail Thacher and Kathryn Zap. The winning poems will be published in the Midland College Tableau magazine.

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