News from QVCC
6th Annual Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize Awards Night

6th Annual Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize Awards Night Features Guest Poet Marilyn Nelson (3/26/13)

Quinebaug Valley Community College will hold its 6th Annual Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize Celebration at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at the Capitol Theater in downtown Willimantic. The event is free and open to the public. Sandwiches, chips, sweets, and cool beverages will be provided. An open mic will follow the reading.

This year’s honored guest is Marilyn Nelson, the daughter of a Tuskegee Airman, who started writing while still in elementary school. She is a former Connecticut State Poet Laureate and professor emerita at the University of Connecticut, and her honors include the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America (2012), a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award. Nelson is also an accomplished children's writer, whose works include Carver: A Life in Poems, which creates a lyrical rendering of the life of George Washington Carver, and the young-adult book of sonnets A Wreath for Emmett Till, a gripping elegy for the 14-year-old African American boy lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955. In 2013, Nelson was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She is the author of over 15 books of poetry, including, most recently, Faster than Light: New and Selected Poems: 1996-2011 (Louisiana State University Press).

The Julius Sokenu Poetry Awards is a lively annual event honoring the best student poetry in English and Spanish at Quinebaug Valley Community College and at the Quinebaug Middle College.

The event is sponsored by the QVCC Library, EASTCONN’s Quinebaug Middle College, the QVCC Department of English, the Connecticut Poetry Circuit, QVCC Student Government Association, and generous Julius Sokenu Poetry Prize donors. For more information, contact QVCC Research Librarian Amy Barlow (, 860 412-7278). The Capitol Theater is located at 896 Main Street in Willimantic.

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