Glascock poetry competition celebrates its centennial
This year Mount Holyoke College will hold the one hundredth anniversary of the Glascock Poetry Contest. Established in 1923, the annual contest is the oldest continuously running poetry contest for undergraduate students in the United States.
Established in 1923 and held as an intercollegiate event since 1924, the annual Glascock Poetry Contest at Mount Holyoke College is the oldest continuously running poetry contest for undergraduate students in the United States and is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary this year.
The contest will take place at Mount Holyoke on Friday and Saturday, March 31–April 1.
Students from invited schools are judged by a panel of three distinguished poets. This year the judges are Eileen Myles, Evie Shockley and Hoa Nguyen. Past judges have included such luminaries as Audre Lorde, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, William Carlos Williams, Carl Phillips, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Marilyn Chin, Ari Banias, Martín Espada, Dawn Lundy Martin, Kaveh Akbar, Franny Choi and Fred Moten.
“We look forward to this year’s celebration of the contest’s first hundred years and to ushering in the next century of undergraduate poetry.”
Sylvia Plath won the contest when she was a student at Smith College. James Merrill won the contest while attending Amherst College. Other winners of the annual poetry contest include gifted poets such as Muriel Rukeyser, James Agee, Kenneth Koch, Diana Chang, Donald Hall, Katha Pollitt and Maggie Nelson.
Glascock weekend 2023 will feature three main events: a roundtable discussion with this year’s poet-judges, the one hundredth Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Contest and a morning of poetry readings by the three judges, during which this year’s winner will be announced.
The contest honors Kathryn Irene Glascock, a promising young poet and member of the class of 1922, who died of pneumonia one year after she graduated from Mount Holyoke. Established in her memory by her parents in 1923 for Mount Holyoke students, the contest was transformed a year later into an intercollegiate event. “The Glascock competition,” as it is known, invites six accomplished college students each year, including one from Mount Holyoke, to compete for the prize. The two-day event is free and open to the public.
“We look forward to this year’s celebration of the contest’s first hundred years and to ushering in the next century of undergraduate poetry,” said Andrea Lawlor, Clara Willis Phillips Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke and award-winning author of “Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl.”
Kathryn Irene Glascock (1901–1923) pursued a literary career during her time at Mount Holyoke, serving as editor of the literary section of the Mount Holyoke News and later the editor-in-chief. Glascock was awarded the Sigma Theta Chi prize for poetry and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, among other recognitions. She graduated in 1922 and moved to New York to work at a publishing company. She died of pneumonia on February 23, 1923.
During her lifetime, Glascock’s poems were published in Vanity Fair and Poetry. A collection of her work was edited by Professor Ada Snell, then chair of the English department, and published posthumously. The annual poetry event in her memory is sponsored by the Kathryn Irene Glascock Memorial Fund, the Joyce Horner Poetry Prize, the Charles and Rosanna Batchelor Memorial fund and the Department of English at Mount Holyoke College.