Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

Fresh Voices Poetry Competition is an outstanding program that offers students the opportunity to write and perform poems suitable for presentation and publication. Since 1993, student poets from all corners of Connecticut have entered this competition. The Fresh Voices Poetry Competition is open to all New England high school students.

Read the poetry of the 2020 Fresh Voices winning poets in Hill-Stead’s online poetry journal, Theodate in January 2021.

2021 Fresh Voices Poetry Competition

How to Enter

Follow submission guidelines; fill out competition entry form; and return signed, completed form and poems to

Fresh Voices Poetry Competition
Hill-Stead Museum
35 Mountain Road
Farmington, CT 06032
Scan and email signed, completed form and poems to
IMPORTANT: Please use “Fresh Voices Entry” as subject heading of your email.


  • Perform a live reading for the Young Poets Celebration at Hill-Stead Museum—Wednesday, June 23, 2021*
  • Poems and poet bios/photos published in museum’s online poetry journal, Theodate
  • Monetary awards for all Fresh Voices winners!
  • FREE workshop led by a professional poet (to be announced) for all finalists
  • Winners announced on Hill-Stead Museum’s social media and website

Dates to Know

Friday, April 9 Entry deadline
Monday, April 19  Up to 15 FINALISTS announced
DATE TBD  Workshop for the finalists
Wednesday, May 12 @ 5pm  FINALISTS read before a panel of judges; four to six WINNERS announced
Wednesday, June 23  Young Poets Celebration featuring the Fresh Voices winners and a headliner poet with live music and more*

The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival will be held the weekend of September 10-12, 2021. Fresh Voices winners will be given complimentary passes to this event.

*Winners must be available to participate in this performance!

2021 Fresh Voices Readers

Victoria Nordlund is the English department chair at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT, an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, and lead master teaching artist of the Write To The Point Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios program at The Mark Twain House & Museum. Her creative writing programs have won major state and national awards in every genre. Nordlund was a 2016 semi-finalist for CT Teacher of the year. She also won the 2016 New England Association of Teachers of English Poet-of-the-Year Award. Her poetry collections Wine-Dark Sea and Binge Watching Winter on Mute are published by Main Street Rag. She is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee, whose work has appeared in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Chestnut Review, Pidgeonholes, Maudlin House, and other journals.

Barbara P. Greenbaum has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine, Stonecoast. She taught creative writing at a public magnet arts high school in Willimantic, Connecticut for twelve years and served as an adjunct professor at Eastern CT State University. In 2011, she was awarded a Teaching Arts Fellowship from Surdna. Her fiction, poetry and essays have been published in: The Alembic, American Writer’s Review, The Binnacle, The Cape Rock, Crack The Spine, The Dos Passos Review, Eclectica, Fiction Fix, Forge, Hawaii Pacific Review, Hog River Review, Inscape, The Louisville Review, Pearl, Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, Marathon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Noctua Review, Slab, The Penmen Review, Underwood Review, Verdad, and Willow Review, among othersShe writes using the pen name B. P. Greenbaum.

Fresh Voices Judges

Hill-Stead is delighted to announce our 2021 Fresh Voices judges, Frederick-Douglass Knowles II, Luisa Caycedo-Kimura, and Sophie Spaner. The judges will review the poems by this year’s finalists. Please enjoy their incredible bios.

Frederick-Douglass Knowles II is an Educator and Activist fervent in achieving community augmentation through literary arts. He is the inaugural Poet Laureate for the City of Hartford. His works have been selected as a finalist for the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE) Poet of the Year Award, as well as a nominee for a Pushcart Prize. He is a recipient of the Nutmeg Poetry Award, and the 2020 Connecticut of The Arts Fellow in Artist Excellence for Poetry/ Creative Non-Fiction. Frederick-Douglass is the author of BlackRoseCity, and a Professor of English at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, CT.

Luisa Caycedo-Kimura is a Colombian-born writer, translator, and educator. Her honors include a John K. Walsh Residency Fellowship at the Anderson Center, an Adrienne Reiner Hochstadt Fellowship at Ragdale, and a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she has received various poetry awards. A former attorney, Caycedo-Kimura left the legal profession to pursue her passion for writing. She holds an MFA from Boston University. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Sunken Garden Poetry 1992-2011, RHINO, Diode, Shenandoah, Mid-American Review, Nashville Review, The Night Heron Barks, Louisiana Literature, among others. Currently, she is an Assistant Editor for the Connecticut River Review.

Sophie Spaner is an 18-year-old writer, singer-songwriter, and artist from Deep River, Connecticut. She was a Fresh Voices Poet in 2017. She is currently taking a gap year and will be attending Yale University in the fall, where she plans to major in Film and Media Studies. During her gap year, she has been working as a quality control consultant for both foreign and American independent films with the international film distributor Kino Lorber. In her free time, she enjoys learning new instruments and expanding her artistic practice.

Previous Winners


Read the poems by the 2020 winners in the January 2021 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Haneen Alkabasi Avon High School
  • Alicia Chiu William H. Hall High School
  • Jake Colangelo Joel Barlow High School
  • Olatunji Osho-Williams Westminster School
  • MM Odom The Grove School
  • Charlotte Watts Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts


Read the poems by the 2019 winners in the January 2020 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Sophia Ciraldo Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Danny Diaz-Villafane  Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Stella Georgian  East Lyme High School
  • Autumn Munsell  Granby Memorial High School
  • Camden Robertson  Granby Memorial High School
  • Ava Varano Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts


Read the poems by the 2018 winners in the May 2019 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Vanecia Fultz  Rockville High School
  • Rachel Justice  Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Sarah Lewis  Hall High School
  • Ellis McGinley  Arts at the Capitol Magnet School
  • Youssef Mezrioui  Rockville High School
  • Alex Nordlund  Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts


Read the poems by the 2017 winners in the January 2018 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Joyce Hida, Rockville High School
  • Sophia Durand, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Rachel Horowitz-Benoit, EO Smith High School
  • Verne Mackoff, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Sophie Spaner, Valley Regional High School


Read the poems by the 2016 winners in the January 2017 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Owen Elphick, E.O. Smith High School
  • Chloe Ezzo, Kingswood Oxford
  • Leah Nashel, Westover School
  • Jossary Padilla, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Abbey Rose Popolizio, Haddam-Killingworth High School


Read the poems by the 2015 winners in the March 2016 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Cole Adams, Kingswood-Oxford
  • Avery Christensen, Rockville High School
  • Khadija Hussain, Wilber Cross High School
  • Joscelyn Norris, Westover
  • Kaleigh Perkins, Rockville High School


Read the poems by the 2014 winners in the February 2016 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Shana Blatt, ACES Education Center for the Arts (New Haven)
  • Colleen Feeney, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
  • Sophia O’Brien-Udry, ACES Education Center for the Arts (New Haven)
  • Taite Puhala, Westminster School (Simsbury)
  • Wenell St. Hill, Great Hartford Academy of the Arts


Read the poems by the 2013 winners in the February 2016 issue of Theodate: An Online Poetry Journal.

  • Julia Alexander
  • Horlando De los Santos
  • Trey Geisman
  • Hayley Kolding
  • Essence McDonald


  • Alexandra Asal
  • Sophie Dillon
  • Shameil Dias
  • Amanda Goode
  • Shannon Haaland
  • Ellie Woznica

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