Simmerman Prize

The 13th 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 13th
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.

Each year the contest continues to grow with yet another record number of
poems being submitted to the contest. Fantastic teachers such as Terry Wilson,
Doug McGlothlin, Annie Watson, Kathi Baron, and many others from Coconino
and Flagstaff High School have helped to inspire both their talented students and
further participation in the Simmerman Prize. 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.

Judging this year’s contest was Miles Waggener, an award-winning writer, author
of four books of poems, and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of
Nebraska Omaha. He also has many connections to Flagstaff and Northern
Arizona, including having taught English and Spanish at Page High School and in
the English Department at Northern Arizona University. He is also a Northern
Arizona University alumnus. He brought his years of experience and joy of
reading poetry to the task of placing these poems. Once more, 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, as well as the Northern Arizona Book Festival.
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.

Thank you to all of the outstanding poetry teachers in Flagstaff High Schools for their help facilitating the contest and for teaching poetry.


James Jay,
Literary Executor, the Estate of Jim Simmerman

Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize 2019

  • 1st – Aslihan Hadinoglu, “Dede” (Coconino High School)
  • 2nd – Kyona Blackhorse, “Going Through a Window” (Flagstaff High School)
  • 3rd – Sarah Chatter, “Shinali Asdzaa” (Coconino High School)
  • Honorable mentions in no particular order: Tiana Bennett, “Piki” (Flagstaff High School), Mya Trent, “Bare” (Coconino High School), Ashley Tittelbaugh, “Breathing” (Coconino High School), Jacob Sansone, “The Art of Striking an Arc” (Flagstaff High School), Jericho Scott, “Gift” (Flagstaff High School), Jaqueline Slack, “Floret” (Coconino High School), Katlyn Nakai, “Look Away” (Flagstaff High School)

For more information on the Simmerman Poetry Prize or the Estate of Jim Simmerman, please visit