April is Poetry Month

Jett Whitehead understands the passion that inspires students to immerse themselves in reading and writing poetry. He also understands the challenges they may face while pursuing their interests in creative writing.

He received a master's degree in English with a creative writing concentration from CMU in 1977. Never forgetting his appreciation for the guidance he received from his CMU instructors, Jett found a way to give back to the English department and inspire students to pursue excellence in creative writing.

To celebrate APRIL IS POETRY MONTH, and to encourage the efforts of the creative writing program and students at Central Michigan University, he created the POETRYJETT.COM / APRIL IS POETRY MONTH prize in 2003.

"I wanted to promote poetry and inspire students in the creative writing program," said Whitehead. "Creative writers often do not have many avenues for getting kudos for their work, so I thought this might be a way to give encouragement to them.

"It's also a way to recognize their writing as being more than just a class assignment. My goal is to see the program grow and continue in longevity," he said.

The prize is open to any Central Michigan University student who has enrolled in a creative writing class during the current academic year.  The prize is given for a single poem written during that academic year, and the award is presented at a public poetry reading on CMU's campus during the month of April.  The judge is a member of the creative writing faculty of CMU, or a recognized poet appointed by the CMU creative writing faculty.

To date we have given $3300 to creative writing students to reward them for their dedication to the craft.


Ben Kuzava is 2016 Poetry Month Prize Winner

Ben Kuzava won the 2016 PoetryJett.com / April is Poetry Month prize awarded at Central Michigan University on April 21, 2016. Ben's poem "Ghosts" was selected as the winning poem by this year's judge, poet Jeff Kass. The judge also selected a poem by Maye Zerull as the first runner-up, and Greta Ginter as the second runner-up. 

Shown in the photo above is the 2015 winner, Zachary Riddle (right) with Jett Whitehead.


 

April is Poetry Month Prize Winners 

 

2003
Andrea Devenney 
$100

2003 
Bonnie Kahn, Delta College
$100

2004
Cara Swaney
$100

2005 
Bret Wallin
$250

2006 
Qiana Towns
$250

2007
Katie Zapoluch 
$250

2008
Danielle Duer
$250

2009
Jesse Koenig
$250

2010
Joe Kane
$250

2011
Thomas Wheatley
$125

2011
Megan Gill
$125

2012
Courtney Kalmbach
$250

2013
Rachel Pomeroy
$250

2014
Sara Belluomo
$250

2015
Zachery Riddle
$250

 

2016
Ben Kuzava
$250