Chestertown, MD, April 11, 2005 — Washington College's Rose O'Neill Literary House will host a public reading by the winners of the 2005 Eastern Shore Poetry Contest on Thursday, April 21, at 6 p.m. Following the event will be a reading by this year's judge, Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Sue Ellen Thompson. The public is invited to both readings. A free reception will follow.
Sue Ellen Thompson is the author of The Leaving: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press, 2001), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002. Her previous collections include The Body of Silk—awarded the 1986 Samuel French Morse Prize—and The Wedding Boat (Owl Creek Press, 1995). Thompson is a graduate of Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf School of English. Her work has appeared in the Georgia Review, Southern Poetry Review,The Seneca Review, Louisville Review, Tar River Poetry, and many other journals. She has also contributed essays to Family: A Celebration, Touchstones: American Poets on a Favorite Poem, Introspections: American Poets on One of Their Own Poems, and An Open World: Essays on Leslie Norris.
Thompson has served as a National Arts Club Scholar in Poetry and a Robert Frost Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her awards include two Individual Artist Grants from the state of Connecticut and the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She has served on the faculty of the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf and the Young Writers Institute in West Hartford. She has given readings throughout New England as well as at the National Arts Club in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. In 1999 she was invited to read her work at the Aran Islands Poetry Festival in Galway, Ireland. Thompson lives in Mystic, Connecticut, where she works as a writer and editor. Among her current projects is The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, of which she is editor.
The Eastern Shore Poetry Contest is sponsored by the arts councils of Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot, and Caroline counties. The readings are sponsored by the O'Neill Literary House and the Sophie Kerr Committee of Washington College, which work to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has done so much to enrich the College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor” and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.
2005 Eastern Shore Poetry Contest Winners
Youth, Grades 1-8
1st Place: “Birds and Butterflies” by Shannon Miller, Radcliffe Creek School, Kent County
2nd Place: “Shining Green” by Aaron Bramble, Radcliffe Creek School, Kent County
3rd Place: “Books" by Sage Fox, Cherry Hill School, Cecil County
Students, Grades 9-12
1st Place: “Working in the Woods” by Jessica Vooris, Queen Anne's County High School
2nd Place: “Cold Misery” by Alicia Vooris, Queen Anne's County High School
3rd Place: “The Hunters” by Joshua Stone of Towle Institute
1st Place: “Prophecy” by Maggie Creshkoff of Port Deposit, Cecil County
2nd Place: “Before I Leave...” by Maggie Creshkoff of Port Deposit, Cecil County
3rd Place: “A Year Ago Today” by Dane Arnold, Chestertown, Kent County
Seniors, 60 and over
1st Place: “Yard Sale” by Jody Primoff, Greensboro, Caroline County
2nd Place: “Waiting” by Hal Wilson, Chester, Queen Anne's County
3rd Place: “Diagnosis: Old” by John Nashold, Greensboro, Caroline County