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MSU Libraries Undergraduate Poetry Contest logo

Mississippi State University Libraries held its 1st Annual Undergrad Poetry Contest this spring. Submissions for the contest were taken until April 1, 2020. Students from all over campus entered, not just those from the English Department.

Nate Venarske won first Prize for his poem “The Audacious Toad.” Venarske won the Author’s Classic Typewriter from Hammacher Schlemmer and will have his poem published in The Streetcar, MSU’s student creative arts journal. Venarske is a Freshman majoring in Biological Engineering and minoring in Creative Writing. He is an artist and naturalist who enjoys photographing, drawing, and writing about nature as much as studying it. On the side, Vernarske enjoys playful philosophical and political discussions, and he is always game for chess.

DeJuanay Hunter Jr. won second prize for his poem “Middle of the Road” and won a Slate Collection Large MERCER Lined Refillable Journal. Hunter was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. He transferred to Mississippi State University in August as a sociology major. While challenging, Hunter has thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Mississippi better. In Hunter’s own words, “Truly, I am grateful to all of the people, past and present, who have supported me during my time here on Earth, and a big thanks to Mississippi State University.”

Keli Barrett won third prize for her poem “Southern Blues.” Barrett won a handmade refillable wooden pen and mechanical pencil made by artisan Janine Snell. Barrett a 31-year-old resident of Newton County, MS. She currently works at East Central Community College and attends Mississippi State University as an undergrad in the Interdisciplinary Studies program. Barrett is the mother of three amazing children, Jaymie (13), Julie (11), and Jaxton (2). She has been writing since she was 10 years old and loves reading books and writing in her spare time.

You can read the winning poems on The Streetcar’s website:

Learn more about the Undergraduate Poetry Contest: