Spring 2021 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize

Every April, the English department hosts our annual Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry competition, endowed by the poet herself after she visited as the Symposium author back in 1994. Mr. Kraus, at that time an English teacher, was responsible for bringing Gwendolyn Brooks – the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry – to KO’s campus. After Ms. Brooks’ Thursday night dinner with the students, she was so energized by their conversation that she stayed up all night reading their creative and analytical writing. Because she was so impressed with our students, she personally endowed an annual poetry contest after her two-day visit to campus. 

Each year, a cash prize is awarded to three Upper School and three Middle School students whose poems are chosen as the best submissions to the contest.

Upper School Winners:
Mary Ellen Carroll '21, "idylls of a brushfire"
Mary Kaliszewski '21, "Lying in my Grandmother’s Bed the Night Before Her Funeral"
Nate Welsh '22, "a4 divici and a warning"


Middle School Winners:
Eben Bauman '26, "Silent Music"
Natay Belachew '27, "The New Year"
Lidia Martinez- Castro '27, "Pay Attention"