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Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award

The annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award  is sponsored by Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez, professor of Spanish, and the Women's and Gender Studies program.

The theme for the 2021 competition is “Discontentment," an opportunity for students to reflect on the topics of discontent and discontentment.

The prize for first place is $75, second place $50, and third place $30.  

Submissions of unpublished material should include three copies delivered to Jennifer Milner, Swenson 102. Students may submit no more than three submissions.

The submission deadline is Friday, March 12, 2021.

In addition to recognizing excellence, the award is designed to encourage student poets to submit their work for consideration. Entries are judged on the basis of originality, creative imagination, characterization and artistic quality. 

The award is named in honor of two educators, the late Honorato Vazquez and the late Angelica Valarezo, writers who worked in the field of education in Ecuador for 35 years.

 "My parents were a source of great inspiration to me," Dr. Vázquez said. "They were reading poetry to me even before I was able to read and write. I could not think of a better way of honoring their memory than naming the award after them."

2021 will be the 22nd year for the annual award, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

2019 winners

The 2019 awards went to the best student submission on the theme “Me, Too.” 

Lalini Shanela Ranaraja, a sophomore from Sri Lanka, won the 2019 Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award.

Ranaraja, an anthropology major, submitted work entitled “Proof Positive.” She won third place in 2018. 

Other winners were:

Briana ‘Bri’ Lee, second place for "And Lead Me Not Into Temptation."  She is a senior from Elgin, Ill., majoring in biology.

Samantha Bruns, third place for “Overreacting." She is a sophomore from South Chicago Heights, Ill., majoring in creative writing.

Judges were Dr. Jennifer Heacock-Renaud, a lecturer in Spanish, and Dr. Kiki Kosnick, assistant professor of French.