String Poet is pleased to announce the results of the 2016 String Poet Prize, as chosen by Final Judge X.J. Kennedy. We thank all those who entered, and offer our congratulations to the winner and runners-up!

First Prize:

The Tape” – Elise Hempel

Second Place:

The Yoke” – Melissa Cannon

Third Place:

Longing” – Tami Haaland

Honorable Mention:

The Alcove” – Elise Hempel

Look for these poems, along with other String Poet Prize finalists and fine poets in a forthcoming issue of String Poet. Don’t forget to Subscribe to the String Poet Newsletter and Like us on Facebook to get updates about the coming Award Ceremony in Spring 2017. We hope to see you there!

Join us for an evening of poetry and music as we honor the winners of the 2015 String Poet Prize, and the fifth anniversary of String Poet!

Featuring a reading by 2015 Finalist Judge Bruce Guernsey and culminating in the reading of prize-winner John Beaton’s poem followed by the premiere performance of Joelle Wallach’s composition, this is a must-see event for anyone able to attend!

In honor of reaching the 5 year mark, these excellent poets from past issues will read their String Poet pearls: Daniel Brown, Gladys Henderson, Robert Schechter, Pramila Venkateswaran, Herb Wahlsteen and Muriel Harris Weinstein.


John BeatonJohn Beaton is a retired actuary who was raised in the Highlands of Scotland and lives on Vancouver Island, Canada. He was moderator of The Deep End workshop at Eratosphere for several years. His poetry has appeared widely online and in publications as diverse as Able Muse and Gray’s Sporting Journal. He is a regular spoken word performer, both solo and with the band Celtic Chaos.

bruce_guernseyBruce Guernsey is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University where he taught creative writing and American Literature for twenty-five years. He has also taught at William and Mary, Johns Hopkins, the University of New Hampshire, and Virginia Wesleyan College where he was the poet in residence for four years. A graduate with honors from Colgate University, he holds M.A.’s from the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins and a PhD from New Hampshire, writing his dissertation on tools as metaphor in Robert Frost’s poetry.

Composer Joelle WallachJoelle Wallach writes music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voices and choruses. Her String Quartet 1995 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, From the Forest of Chimneys, written to celebrate their 10th anniversary; and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, Toward a Time of Renewal, for 200 voices and orchestra to commemorate their 35th Anniversary Season in Carnegie Hall.

Daniel Brown Photo 2Daniel Brown’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Partisan Review, PN Review, Parnassus, The New Criterion and other journals, as well as a number of anthologies including Poetry 180 (ed. Billy Collins) and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets (ed. David Yezzi). His work has been awarded a Pushcart prize, and his collection Taking the Occasion won the New Criterion Poetry Prize. His new collection is What More?


Gladys HendersonGladys Henderson has received many prizes for her poetry, and she is widely published. In 2015 she was selected featured poet in Oberon. Her chapbook, Eclipse Of Heaven, was published by Finishing Line Press, (June 2008).


schechterRobert Schechter has published poems and translations in Highlights for Children, First Things, The Washington Post, The Evansville Review, Poetry East, The Alabama Literary Review, The Raintown Review, Per Contra, Light Quarterly, LightenUp Online, Snakeskin, and Bumbershoot, among other journals.


Pramila VenkateswaranPramila Venkateswaran is the author of Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002), Behind Dark Waters (Plain View Press, 2008), and Draw Me Inmost (Stockport Flats, 2009). An award-winning poet, she has performed her poems internationally, most recently in the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, and Socialism and Democracy. She is an Associate Professor of English at Nassau Community College. She plays the violin and sings Indian classical music.


Herb WahlsteenHerb Wahlsteen earned a B.A. in English from CA St. U., Fullerton, and an M.A. in English from Columbia U. He earned a permanent NY State license to teach English, grades 7-12, and taught in the NYC Public School System. He was a finalist in the Yale Series of Younger Poets contest, placed 3rd in the Writer’s Digest 77th Annual Writing Competition: Rhyming Category, and has had poems published in: Long Island Quarterly, the Great South Bay magazine, The Lyric magazine, Paumanok Interwoven, and Suffolk County Poetry Review.


Muriel Harris WeinsteinMuriel Harris Weinstein’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines: The Comstock Review, The Cortland Review, Kent State Review, The Cape Rock, Nassau Review, and in several anthologies. Poetry is her first love, but she also writes children’s literature, including her first, When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and Play Louis, Play!, a middle-grade bio of the great Louis Armstrong, also a Junior Library Guild Selection, winner of the Paterson Prize at P.C.C.C., and nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award.

Submission Guidelines

All forms accepted, 40 lines max per poem. No previously published poems, or poems that have won other prizes.  Winner receives $1000, publication in String Poet, and composition of original music by professional composer inspired by the winning poem, to be performed at the Awards Ceremony in Spring 2017. Winner and Runners-up published in forthcoming 2017 issue of String Poet, and invited to read at the Awards Ceremony. All contest submissions are considered for publication in journal. There is no theme for submissions — String Poet does not solicit poems solely on the subject of music. Reading the journal archives is a great way to become familiar with the type of work that String Poet publishes.

Entry Fee: $15.00 — include up to 5 poems, up to 40 lines per poem

Submissions Now Closed

Final Judge: X.J. Kennedy

Composer: Richard Brooks

Last Year’s Winner

Last year’s String Poet Prize was awarded to John Beaton for his poem, “Midwinter Music,” which was set to music by composer Joelle Wallach. Look for the poem and composition to be unveiled at the Award Ceremony in September.

Online Submissions

Submissions should be made, along with the entry fee, by 11:59 PM PDT on July 29, 2016.
Payment: Please do not use the “Donate” button to send payment for a contest entry. Instead, use the shopping cart on this page to send payment by credit card or PayPal. If your PayPal email address does not match the email used to send your poems, please make note of that in your contest submission email.
Submissions: After completing payment, send a single e-mail with your poem(s) to contest@stringpoet.com. Be sure to include submissions in-line within the email body. If you wish to also include an attachment, the following formats are acceptable: PDF (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf), Word (.doc), or plain text (.txt). Do not attach .docx files. Include your name and contact information in the body of the email, or as a separate cover page within the attachment — do not put identifying information on the same page as a poetry submission.

Postal Submissions

Send your poem(s) and payment, postmarked on or before July 29th, 2016 to:
String Poet Prize c/o Long Island Violin Shop
8 Elm Street
Huntington, NY 11743

Checks payable to “String Poet” drawn from a U.S. Bank.   Author’s name and contact information typed on the BACK of each submitted page — do not put identifying information on the front page of a poetry submission. Include a SASE or your email address if you would like to be notified of contest results, or subscribe to String Poet. Hardcopy entries cannot be returned, and will be recycled.

String Poet is pleased to announce the results of the 2015 String Poet Prize, as chosen by Final Judge Bruce Guernsey. We thank all those who entered, and offer our congratulations to the winner and runners-up!

First Prize:

Midwinter Music” – John Beaton

Second Place:

The Wall That Christ Leaned Against On His Way to the Cross” – Katharyn Howd Machan

Third Place:

Some Say” – Susan Kelly-DeWitt

Honorable Mention:

The Visit” – Ingrid Wendt

Look for these poems, along with other String Poet Prize finalists and fine poets in a forthcoming issue of String Poet. Don’t forget to Subscribe to the String Poet Newsletter and Like us on Facebook to get updates about the coming Award Ceremony in September 2016. We hope to see you there!

Submission Guidelines

All forms accepted, 40 lines max per poem. No previously published poems, or poems that have won previous prizes.  Winner receives $1000, publication in String Poet, and composition of original music by professional composer inspired by the winning poem, to be performed at the Awards Ceremony in Spring 2016. Winner and Runners-up published in Winter 2015 issue of String Poet and invited to read at the Awards Ceremony. All contest submissions are considered for publication in journal. String Poet does not solicit poems solely on the subject of music.  There is no theme for submissions.  Reading the journal archives is a great way to become familiar with the type of work that String Poet publishes.

Entry Fee: $15.00 — include up to 5 poems, up to 40 lines per poem
Submissions deadline: June 29, 2015

Submissions are now closed

bruce_guernseyFinal Judge: Bruce Guernsey is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University where he taught creative writing and American Literature for twenty-five years. He has also taught at William and Mary, Johns Hopkins, the University of New Hampshire, and Virginia Wesleyan College where he was the poet in residence for four years. A graduate with honors from Colgate University, he holds M.A.’s from the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins and a PhD from New Hampshire, writing his dissertation on tools as metaphor in Robert Frost’s poetry.

Bruce’s poems have appeared in well-known publications such as Poetry, The Atlantic, American Scholar, and many of the quarterlies. His work has also appeared in more diverse places like Cat Fancy, The Journal of Medical Opinion, and Yankee. His books of poetry include Lost Wealth (Basilisk Press, 1974), January Thaw (U. of Pittsburgh Press, 1982), The Lost Brigade (Water Press and Media, 2004), and New England Primer (Cherry Grove Collections, 2008). His selected poems collection, From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, was published by Ecco Qua Press in 2012. He is also the author of seven chapbooks.

His honors include fellowships in poetry from the NEA, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is a “Featured Poet” on the Illinois Poet Laureate Web Site, and former US Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, has selected five of his poems for the international column, “American Life in Poetry.” His residency awards include the NEA Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony in 2011, as well as past residencies at Ragdale, the Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, and Norton Island off the coast of Maine. The recipient of Fulbright Senior Lectureships in American poetry to Portugal and Greece, he has also twice sailed around the world as a faculty member with Semester at Sea.

In 2006, Bruce was invited to edit The Spoon River Poetry Review through the winter/spring issue of 2010. The magazine received an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for both 2008 and 2009. He is the founding editor and former letterpress printer of Penyeach Press which recently published Mapping the Line: Poets on Teaching (2013), a collection of classroom tested essays on poetry writing by some of the country’s best poet/teachers.

Bruce’s own prose has also found publication in a variety of magazines, including War, Literature, and the Arts, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fly Rod & Reel, and Dappled Things. His essay, “The Raven’s Gift”, won the creative nonfiction award from the literary magazine Flyway. His memoir The Sunburned Daughter has been serialized throughout 2014 by the on-line journal, The Wild River Review.

For his teaching, Dr. G. was awarded seven faculty excellence awards while at EIU, and in 1992 was awarded the State of Illinois Board of Governors’ Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honor offered in that state system. He was also twice nominated for the Carnegie Institute United States Professor of the Year.

He and his wife, the artist and jeweler Victoria Woollen-Danner, divide their time between Charleston, Illinois, and their home in Bethel, Maine. Together, they have five children and four granddaughters, plus a variety of dogs and cats (the latter all with Boston Red Sox’ names).

Composer Joelle WallachComposer: Joelle Wallach writes music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voices and choruses. Her String Quartet 1995 was the American Composers Alliance nominee for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles premiered her octet, From the Forest of Chimneys, written to celebrate their 10th anniversary; and the New York Choral Society commissioned her secular oratorio, Toward a Time of Renewal, for 200 voices and orchestra to commemorate their 35th Anniversary Season in Carnegie Hall. Wallach’s ballet, Glancing Below,a 1999 Juilliard Dance Theater showcase production originally commissioned by the Carlisle Project, was premiered in Philadelphia during the summer of1994, entered the repertory of the Hartford Ballet in February 1995, and received its New York City premiere that June. As early as 1980 her choral work, On the Beach at Night Alone, won first prize in the Inter-American Music Awards. Wallach grew up in Morocco, but makes her home in New York City, where she was born. Her early training in piano, voice, theory, bassoon and violin included study at the Juilliard Preparatory Division, and she earned bachelors and masters degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University respectively. In 1984 the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with John Corigliano, granted her its first doctorate in composition. A pre-concert lecturer for the New York Philharmonic for several subscription series, Ms Wallach speaks on a broad range of musical subjects, bringing fresh insights to familiar works and opening doors to modern ones and to those less frequently heard

Last Year’s Winner

Woman Holding a Fox, by David Yezzi

Last year’s String Poet Prize was awarded to Richard Meyer for his poem, “The Autumn Way,” which was set to music by composer Judith Shatin, and performed by cellist Suzanne Mueller.

Online Submissions

Submissions should be made, along with the entry fee, by 11:59 PM PDT on June 29, 2015.
Payment: Please do not use the “Donate” button to send payment for a contest entry. Instead, use the shopping cart on this page to send payment by credit card or PayPal. If your PayPal email address does not match the email used to send your poems, please make note of that in your contest submission email.
Submissions: After completing payment, send a single e-mail with your poem(s) to contest@stringpoet.com. Be sure to include submissions in-line within the email body. If you wish to also include an attachment, the following formats are acceptable: PDF (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf), Word (.doc), or plain text (.txt). Do not attach .docx files. Include your name and contact information in the body of the email, or as a separate cover page within the attachment — do not put identifying information on the same page as a poetry submission.

Postal Submissions

Send your poem(s) and payment, postmarked on or before June 29th, 2015 to:
String Poet Prize c/o Long Island Violin Shop
8 Elm Street
Huntington, NY 11743

Checks payable to “String Poet” drawn from a U.S. Bank.   Author’s name and contact information typed on the BACK of each submitted page — do not put identifying information on the front page of a poetry submission. Include a SASE or your email address if you would like to be notified of contest results, or subscribe to String Poet. Hardcopy entries cannot be returned, and will be recycled.

A wonderful evening of poetry and music, featuring a poetry reading by Finalist Judge David Yezzi, followed by readings of the poems that placed or received honorable mentions.

The event culminated in a reading of Richard Meyer’s First-Prize winning poem, “The Autumn Way,” followed by the debut of Composer Judith Shatin’s original piece of music, inspired by the winning poem.

Video highlights from the 2014 String Poet Award Ceremony

Playlist: 2014 String Poet Prize Award Ceremony


Richard MeyerRichard Meyer, a former English and humanities teacher, lives in the home his father built in Mankato, a city at the bend of the Minnesota River. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various publications, including Able Muse, 14 Magazine, The Raintown Review, Measure, Alabama Literary Review, Light, and The Evansville Review. His poem “Fieldstone” was selected as the winner of the 2012 Robert Frost Farm Prize, and his poem “La Gioconda” was chosen as a top sonnet in the 2013 Great River Shakespeare Festival.


David YezziFinal Judge: David Yezzi’s books of poetry are The Hidden Model (TriQuarterly Books, 2003) and Azores (Swallow Press, 2008), a Slate magazine best book of the year; and Birds of the Air (2013), a Publishers Weekly pick. He is the editor of The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, foreword by J. D. McClatchy. His libretto for a chamber opera by David Conte, Firebird Motel, received its premiere in San Francisco in 2003 and was released on CD from Arsis in 2007. His libretto of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon for composer Cyril Deaconoff received a workshop production at West Bay Opera in California in 2010. And his verse dramas On the Rocks and Dirty Dan & Other Travesties have been produced by Verse Theater Manhattan. As an actor and co-founder of Thick Description, a San Francisco theater company, Mr. Yezzi has performed in works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Brecht, Goethe, Williams, and others, in the United States and Europe.
A Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University from 1998 to 2000, his poems and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The Best American Poetry,The Yale Review, Poetry and elsewhere. A former director of the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, he is executive editor of The New Criterion.

2014 String Poet Prize Composer Judith ShatinComposer: Judith Shatin is a composer and sound artist whose musical practice engages our social, cultural, and physical environments. She draws on expanded instrumental palettes and a cornucopia of the sounding world, from machines in a deep coal mine, to the calls of animals, the shuttle of a wooden loom, a lawnmower racing up a lawn. Timbral exploration and dynamic narrative design are fundamental to her compositional design, while collaboration with musicians, artists and communities are central to her musical life. Shatin’s music has been commissioned by organizations such as the Barlow and Fromm Foundations, the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress, the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Arts Partners Program, as well as ensembles including Ash Lawn Opera, Da Capo Chamber Players, the Dutch Hexagon Ensemble, newEar,the National and Richmond Symphonies, and many more. Twice a fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, she has held residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, the VCCA, La Cité des Arts (France), Mishkan HaAmanim (Israel), among others. Her Rotunda, a film collaboration with Robert Arnold, won the Macon Film Festival Best Experimental Film Award (2011), while her music for the film Cinnamon, by Kevin J. Everson, has been heard at festivals ranging from Sundance to Munich and Rotterdam. In demand as a master teacher, Shatin has served as BMI composer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University, as master composer at California Summer Music, and as senior composer at the Wellesley Composers Forum. She is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at the University of Virginia, where she founded the Virginia Center for Computer Music. Her work is featured in the recent book Women of Influence in Contemporary Music, Nine American Composers (Scarecrow Press). A staunch advocate for her fellow composers, she has served as President of American Women Composers and on the boards of the League/ISCM, American Composers Alliance, and International Alliance for Women in Music. She currently sits on the National Council of the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Cellist Suzanne Mueller is a native and resident of Long Island (NY). She is a graduate of both the Pre-College and College of The Juilliard School. Her teachers have included Marion Feldman, Alexander Kouguell, Lorne Munroe, Leslie Parnas, Channing Robbins, and Harvey Shapiro, and she has coached with artists including Joseph Fuchs, Margot Garrett, William Lincer, and, for non-classical cello and perspective, Eugene Friesen.
She made her New York recital debut under the auspices of Artists International as a member of the piano/cello Elysian Duo, and went on to perform as half of its successor, Elysian II, for ten years, before forming CROSS ISLAND with pianist Elinor Abrams Zayas in 2007.
Suzanne has been Beech Tree Concerts Artist-in-Residence at Old Westbury Gardens (Long, Island, NY) since 2003. There, she presents a series of outdoor summer concerts in a broad range of genres with various partners. She is a also a frequent performer on the Composer’s Voice concert series, presenting new music by living composers. Suzanne is a member of the New Directions Cello Association, of the International Alliance for Women in Music, and of the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity.
In 2013, she released her first solo CD, Solitaire, featuring a number of premieres, several written especially for her. Composers represented are J.S. Bach, Barbara Bach Sternberg, Greg Bartholomew, Bela Bartok, Douglas DaSilva, Lawrence Kramer, Nicholas Chen McConnell, Jimmy Pigott, J.P. Redmond, Bettie Ross, Rick Sowash, David Wolfson, and Carol Worthey.