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Winners of 2013 Newman Young Poet's Awards Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               

CONTACT: OU Institute for U.S. - China Issues, (405) 325-3580

NORMAN, OKLA. – The winners the 2013 Newman Young Poet’s Awards, a poetry contest held in conjunction with the Newman Prize for Chinese Literature at the University of Oklahoma, were selected recently and will be honored Thursday at an awards banquet sponsored by the OU Institute for U.S.-China Issues.

Recipients are Donovan Helterbrand, a first-grader at East Side Elementary in Midwest City, Aaliyah Elders, an eighth-grader at Highland East Junior High in Moore, Casey Cai, an 11th grader at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in Oklahoma City, and Spencer McCoy, an undergraduate at the University of Tulsa. Each of the four winners will receive a $500 check and a commemorative certificate 

The four Newman Young Poet’s Award recipients were selected from nearly 350 submissions from every region of Oklahoma. 

The Newman Prize for Chinese Literature is awarded biennially in recognition of outstanding achievement in prose or poetry that best captures the human condition and is conferred solely on the basis of literary merit. The 2013 Newman Prize will go to Yang Mu, a Taiwanese poet famous for his integration of classical and modern Chinese and western poetic influences. Mainland Chinese novelists Mo Yan and Han Shaogong won the 2009 and 2011 Newman Prizes for Chinese Literature, respectively. Mo Yan has since been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. 

To honor Yang Mu’s poetry, this year’s Newman Young Poet’s Awards were given to the best Classical Chinese jueju style poem written in English. Jeuju is a traditional form of Chinese poetry. The method of writing jueju in English is just over a decade and a half old, however. It was created by Jonathan Stalling at the University of California at  Berkeley in 1997 at the request of the poet June Jordan, who, once having heard Chinese poetry sung aloud, “wanted to hear its music in English.” 

Stalling formulated a way to compose English verse following all the rules and regulations the form required of Chinese writers. Over the years, he has taught the form as a way of sharing classical Chinese poetics with his American college students and with others in outreach programs — from homeless shelters and prisons to middle schools and writers colonies. This is the first time, however, that jueju have been composed by so many students across such a broad range of ages. 

For more information, please visit the Newman Young Poet’s Prize homepage. You can also contact Peter Gries, OU professor of international and area studies, at (405) 325-1962 or Jonathan Stalling, OU associate professor of English, at (405) 325-6973.

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