Poetry ContestHilda Simmons Levitt
The Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest, with more than $1,000 in prize money going to the winning poets, has been called one of the most prestigious in the state.
It was established in 1988 by the late Stanley Levitt to honor his wife’s memory, and her love of poetry and Midland College. Hilda Simmons Levitt graduated with honors in journalism from Louisiana State University where she also studied under poet Robert Penn Warren. In 1979, at the age of 62, Mrs. Levitt decided to pursue writing again. For the next seven years, until her death in 1986, she studied creative writing at Midland College.
The contest is now underwritten by Mrs. Levitt’s daughter Carol Schwartz, who lives in Washington, D.C.
Any full-time or part-time student registered in English classes at Midland College
at any time in the past year is eligible to compete. Eligible students may submit
as many as five entries, but no contestant will be awarded more than one prize. Prior
Grand Award winners are not eligible.
Your entry may be disqualified if you fail to follow format requirements listed below
on this page.
The entry deadline is April 15, 2022
- Grand Award: $600 and Award Plaque
- Second Place Award: $400 and Award Plaque
- Third Place Award: $200 and Award Plaque
- Fourth Place Award: $100 and Award Plaque
Note: Midland College reserves the right to withhold awards if entries are lacking in quality.
J. Bruce Fuller is the author of The Dissenter's Ground, Lancelot, and Flood, and his poems have appeared at The Southern Review, Crab Orchard Review, McNeese Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Louisiana Literature, among others.
He has received scholarships from Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow.
He teaches at Sam Houston State University where he is Director of Texas Review Press."
The Awards Celebration is held each year to recognize contest winners. This year,
the awards will be on Thursday, May 5th at 5:30 PM in the Wagner & Brown Auditorium
of the Allison Fine Arts Building, on the MC main campus.
Selected writings from the Hilda Simmons Levitt Contest will be published in Tableau,
an annual student publication produced through cooperation of the Departments of English
and Journalism and may also appear on the Midland College website. The material published
will be selected by the Hilda Simmons Levitt Poetry Contest Committee and approved
by the President of Midland College.
Each poem should be submitted on a separate page in a Microsoft Word (doc,docx) document using the following guidelines:
- Use 1” margins on all sides.
- Center the title, capitalizing important letters (follow standard MLA guidelines for titles) one inch from the top of the first page. Do not include your name or any other identifying information.
- Double-space after the title and between stanzas. Otherwise, single-space throughout.
- Place the title and the page number in a header in the top right corner every page.
- Do not include your name anywhere in the entry.
- Your filename should be the title of the entry.
Contestants may enter a maximum of five poems written in any form and any length.
2021 Contest Winners
Congratulations to the following poets, whose work was selected by this year's judge, Nayelly Barrios. Thank you to all students who entered the contest!
Aileen Castaneda, “Grey House” & “Empty Crib”
Richard Frost, “Mama”
Richard Osuamkpe, “Anchor of Sorrows” & “Beginnings”
Alecia Gothan, “Coming Out”
Jennifer Maduabuchuku, “Sestina Poem: Ode to Natural Hair”
Kairi Montanez, “Him“
Allyson Murillo-Rankin, “A Thousand Faces on a Shelf”
Camila Justus, “Social Dilemma”
Due to ongoing COVID concerns, we were unable to hold a live awards event last year year. To share the work of the outstanding student poets featured in this year's contest and that of our judge, we hope you will enjoy these recordings of their prize-winning pieces (presented in the order they're listed above).
A word from contest judge
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