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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts

Creative Writing
Poetry Contest

Creative Writing April is National Poetry Month and coincidentally the final window of opportunity each year for unpublished poets from Elk to Timber Cove to enter the Gualala Arts Creative Writing Contest.

The annual competition offers first-place winners in each category, Adult (18 and up) and Youth (13-17), a cash award and publication in The Redwood Coast Review, the highly respected literary supplement co-published quarterly by the Independent Coast Observer and Coast Community Library. Second and third place poets in each division take home cash awards also.

In 2004 the late Marc Lappé of Gualala took first prize in the Adult division for his poem "Two Rock." Lappé, well known locally and nationally as an environmental scientist and ethicist, was unknown as a poet until he won this contest.

As it happened, the award was one of his final honors, as he was ill at the time with cancer and weeks later prematurely lost his life. Lappé's son Matt, a teacher at Point Arena High, accepted the award for his ailing father and read the winning poem at the ceremony.

Lindsey Smith, the Youth winner in 2004 for her controversial poem "Intoxication (Drunk Eyes)," went on to be appointed California High School Poet Laureate and to earn a creative writing fellowship at Stanford.

Stephen Kessler Redwood Coast Review editor Stephen Kessler, who also serves on the panel of writer-judges, encourages anyone with poems in their drawer to bring them into the light of day: "Poetry is communication," says Kessler, "and the printed page remains its most intimate medium."

He adds: "A live reading, which is part of the prize for all three winners in each division, is also a vital way to let one's work connect with others. Anyone who hasn't published yet and wants to break through to a lot of new readers should take their best shot at this chance to reach them."

Gualala Rotary and The Sea Ranch Foundation have teamed up with Gualala Arts as co-sponsors of this event, which culminates in the Awards Ceremony and reading at Gualala Arts on June 4.

Contest details

This contest is open to all full- or part-time coastal residents from Elk to Timber Cove who have not previously had their poetry published in a book or national periodical. Local and school publications are exempt.

Each contestant may enter up to three poems of no more than 100 lines each. In-hand deadline is May 1, 2008. Entry forms available after January 1, 2008 at the office of Gualala Arts Center, Dolphin Gallery in Gualala, and at the Coast Community Library in Point Arena, or online at Download the 2008 Creative Writing Poetry Contest 2008 Entry Form.

Prizes in both Adult and Youth (13 - 17 years) Divisions

and publication in The Redwood Coast Review



Winners will be invited to read their poems at the Awards Ceremony on Wednesday June 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Gualala Arts Center. For more information call Gualala Arts, (707) 884-1138.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.