North Oakland resident Serene Vannoy wins top student poetry prize at Cal State East Bay, Hayward

  • April 13, 2012

By Susan Mernit

North Oakland resident Serene Vannoy, a senior majoring in the creative writing option of English at Cal State East Bay, has taken first place in the annual Helen "Jackie" DeClercq Poetry Contest for her entry titled "Useless."

Vannoy will read her winning poem at 7 p.m. Monday, April 16 in the Biella Room of the University Library on the Hayward Campus of Cal State East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. The contest issues awards of $250, $100, and $50 for the three top entries, while also recognizing honorable mention poetry. All CSUEB students were eligible to enter.

Vannoy’s entry stems from a near-death experience in 1990 following a diagnosis of thyroid cancer two years earlier. Judges were Kathy and John DeClercq, family members of the late, long-time CSUEB employee Jackie DeClercq, whose bequest has funded the award; Stephen Gutierrez, professor of English and head of the creative writing program; Aline Soules, a university librarian, and Gubernat. Gutierrez, Soules and Gubernat are published authors.

The winning poems will be published in “Occam’s Razor,” the English Department’s literary magazine, which is due out in late-spring.

“Poetry is alive and well at Cal State East Bay," said Susan Gubernat, professor of English and contest supervisor. "We received 179 pages of poetry from students across the university vying for the DeClercq award. We five judges are convinced that, beyond the winners, there are also so many wonderful poets on campus, poets you will pass daily on your trips back and forth to classes or to the bookstore or the science lab or to the library. "

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