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Creative Writing Awards 2023

Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize for an Undergraduate Student Poet   

The Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize for an Undergraduate Poet is named for Virginia Rucker Walter, who was a poet and student at UGA in the 1980s. Virginia Walter was killed by a drunk driver before she was able to graduate, but her family presents this prize in honor of her memory and in celebration of her love of writing poetry. 

Alex HoeferWinner: "kotuping" by Alex Hoefer

Ginger Ko, judge: "[Alex Hoefer's poem] is a sly and steady poem, weaving together multilingualism, family, and memory in the overall fabric of storytelling and the relationships that make changes to narratives. The form of the poem is as thin as a thread, but as flexible too, driving readers along its unspooling. This poem is a marvel. Its presence on the page feels full and alive." 

Alexander Hoefer is a Sabahan-American writer and filmmaker majoring in Entertainment & Media Studies and English. He specializes in the conceptualization and production of martial arts and fashion films, and is especially interested in the potential for videographic/literary arts to host multicultural and multilingual conversation. When he is not producing or writing movies, he enjoys drawing, practicing martial arts, and dancing, with a particular passion for Latin styles such as Argentine Tango.

Hampton Henderson2nd Place: Hampton Henderson

Ginger Ko, judge: "...invites readers into this delightful space of play that is also fraught with a voice that deprecates itself as well as what it observes. This poem is borne from an idiosyncratic perspective, but this perspective is a conversant one; it welcomes us into the sonic pleasures of language and meaning."

Hampton Henderson is a 4th year undergraduate student studying English with an emphasis in creative writing on track to graduate Spring 2023. His current plan is to be a waiter somewhere for a year or so and then to possibly apply for PhD programs at some point following that waiter period. He loves the intersection between art and technology.


Jason Hawkins3rd Place: Jason Hawkins

Ginger Ko, judge: "...draws images so vividly that their inherent threat emanates like an aura from the text. Still, the language remains elegant; the lens of the poem is poised in its recognition of destabilization and complexity."

Jason Hawkins is a poet, short fiction writer, and student at the University of Georgia studying English and Japanese Language and Literature. He's been passionate about writing and storytelling his entire life, and he hopes to grow as a writer in years to come. He  has had poetry published in Stillpoint Literary Magazine. He's most interested in speculative short fiction and twentieth-century poetry. He loves RPGs, horror, and films

This year's judge, Dr. Ginger Ko (Ph.D., University of Georgia) is the author of the full-length collection Motherlover, as well as four chapbooks: Inherit; Comorbid; Ghosts, Models, Visions; and How Glossy the Plastic. She also hold degrees from the University of Wyoming, Indiana University, and UCLA. She has taught courses in writing and Women’s Studies since 2012, and she actively publishes and conducts research in new media writing, feminist poetics, and activist writing and art. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Sam Houston State University, Texas.

Diann Blakely Poetry Prize for a Graduate Student Poet   

The Diann Blakely Poetry Prize for a Graduate Student Poet is presented in honor of American poet, essayist, editor, and critic Diann Blakely.  Before passing away in 2014, Diann was known for her commitment to southern poetry and culture. She taught at Belmont University, Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and was a former poetry editor at the Antioch Review and at New World Writing.  This award is made possible as part of the Diann Blakely Visiting Poet Fund.  

Marina Greenfeld for her poem "In which my brother’s addiction is a hurricane."

This poem was chosen by Allison Cobb, the 2022-2023 Diann Blakely Visiting Writer. Allison Cobb (pronouns she/her) is the inaugural Diann Blakely Visiting Poet and final judge of the 2022-2023 Diann Blakely National Poetry Competition. She is the author of four books: Plastic: an Autobiography (winner of the Oregon Book Award); Green-Wood; After We All Died; and Born2. Cobb’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and many other journals. She was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and National Poetry Series; has been a resident artist at Djerassi and Playa; and received fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Allison works for the Environmental Defense Fund and lives in Portland, Oregon.


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