Poet Laureate Prize Winner and Finalists Honored at the State Capitol

Georgia’s Poet Laureate, Judson Mitcham, in collaboration with Georgia Council for the Arts, is pleased to announce the winner and finalist of the second annual Poet Laureate’s Prize, awarded for an original poem written by a Georgia high school student. This annual program is designed to encourage works by teen writers in grades 9 through 12, and is intended to complement the National Endowment for the Arts’ Poetry Out Loud contest, which features recitation and is administered here by Georgia Council for the Arts. Learn more about the program here and meet the 2015 winner and finalists below.

McPherson Newell is a sophomore at Lakeside High School in Evans, Georgia. She is a member of the speech and debate team, Lakeside Review staff, Dead Poets Society, and cross country team. In addition to writing, she enjoys photography, drama, music, and travel.


Michael Chaparro
Michael Chaparro lives in Maysville, Georgia, and is a freshman at Jefferson High School. He plays trombone in the JHS Jazz, Symphonic, and Marching Bands, writes for the JHS quarterly newspaper, and is a member of the JHS Academic Bowl team. He devotes much of his time to studying the enigmas of philosophy, hypertext literature, classical and modern poetry, and music appreciation. When not devoted to his studies, Michael writes poetry and short stories, performs with his school’s thespian company, and distills his wide-ranging, yet refined, musical tastes further by listening to an eclectic mix of music, including experimental and classical artists.

Isrial Clark
Isrial Clark is a senior and honor graduate at Crawford County High School in Roberta, Ga. He has participated in his high school’s marching band, concert band, and JROTC program for four years. His favorite hobbies include playing music and writing poems, and he is extremely honored to have his poem recognized as a finalist in the Georgia Poet Laureate’s Prize.

Hana Nazir
Hana Nazir is a senior from Johns Creek High School. She enjoys learning new languages, creative writing, and photography, and is a self-proclaimed science nerd. She is known for her spontaneous humor, random outbursts of trivia, and profound penchant for coffee.

Briana Spencer
Briana Spencer, known to her friends and family as “Bri,” is a senior at Northgate High School in Newnan. In the fall, she will attend Agnes Scott College as an incoming English major, where her lifelong love of and commitment to the written word will continue to grow.

The winning poet and four finalists had the opportunity to meet the Governor and Mrs. Deal and the Poet Laureate when they were honored at the Georgia State Capitol on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The winning entry will receive mention in the June 2015 print edition of Atlanta Magazine with the winning and finalist poems will also be published at atlantamagazine.com.

This year’s winning entries for the Poet Laureate Prize can be read via Atlanta Magazine here.

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