Simmerman Prize

The 11th Annual Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize

for Poets of Flagstaff District High Schools

The Estate of Jim Simmerman is pleased to announce the winners of the 11th Annual Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize. All poems were read with the names and schools of the poets withheld, and judged solely on the considerable merits of their lines.

This year, a record number of poems were sent into the contest, poems whose qualities were stellar. I’ve always been reluctant to think of poetry as a competitive sport, so it’s with some reservations that these poems are ranked with numbers and announced. Poetry is not a 100 meter dash where the winner is clearly deciphered and precisely timed. Poetry by its very nature of being designed to be read multiple times does not lend itself to an exact placement for we never know where the finish line rests. A poem has no end. It’s read and enjoyed over and over again. All of the poems entered were read multiple times and some of these finalists were read a dozen times. At any given point, ten different poems potentially held the lead, as it were, with an image resonating even better on a third read, a sound to the closing lines even more haunting on a fourth, and so on. This year’s poems bode well for the state of poetry in the mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona. The future is filled with imagery, metaphor, compassion, and intelligence.

The Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize for Poets of Flagstaff District High Schools is made possible by a generous donation from Kim Holland and the Authors In Schools program she founded. Jim Simmerman was a nationally renowned poet and Regents Professor at Northern Arizona University. He often volunteered to teach poetry workshops in local high schools over the course of his long career.

Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize 2017

The first place winner receives $250. Second place receives $150. Third place receives $100 (tied this year, so both poets receive $100 each).

Honorable mentions receive $20 gift certificates to Bookman’s,

and all poets receive Jim Simmerman’s first book,

1st – Ishaq Francis for “Winter Bees,” Flagstaff High School: teachers Mrs. Annie Watson and Mrs. Kathi Baron

2nd – Caitlyn Hert for “Creativity as a House,” Coconino High School: teacher, Mrs. Terry Wilson

3rd (tie) Cortney Tso for “Patches of Rainbows,” Flagstaff High School: teachers, Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Baron

3rd (tie) Claire Richmond-Tucker for “A Wanderer’s Tale,” Coconino High School: teacher, Mrs. Terry Wilson

Honorable Mentions (arranged alphabetically by poet’s last name)

Erik Bautista, “Bed Bugs”

Tatiana M. Duran, “Carnival of Dreams”

Jesse Holzer, “Welding Arc”

Marietta Honvantewa, “Hopi Womanhood”

Ethan Johhson, “The Little Architect”

Jacob D. Krachey, “A Splendid Drink”

Hasting Lomabalaquihoya, “Buffalo Dancer”

Hailee Morgan, “In the Woods”

Schlad Natay, “The Memories”

Bethany Shikany, “A Day in the Life”

Beyonce Tsosie, “Kinaalda”

Wyatt Van Inwagen, “A Request for Sharpening”

Austin Whithead, “The Hairy Dime”

Bailey Yazzie, “Perspective”

For more information on the Simmerman Poetry Prize

or the Estate of Jim Simmerman, please visit