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Three students received Wallace Stevens poetry prizes (Released: 4/13/98)

by Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications.

Storrs, Conn. -- Three student poets have won the University of Connecticut’s 35th annual Wallace Stevens Poetry competition.

The prizes were presented April 8 and 9 by distinguished poet Donald Hall, who also read from his work during the programs at the Storrs Campus and at The Hartford’s corporate headquarters.

The student poets were judged on a short collection of poetry, and winners were presented with cash and book awards. They read from their prize-winning poems during the program.

The first prize was presented to Jenny Spinner, a graduate student in English from VERNON ane DECATUR, ILLINOIS. The second prize was presented to Michael Alan Snyder, a seventh-semester bachelor of general studies student at the Hartford campus from WEST HARTFORD, and third prize was given to Joseph Lennon, a graduate student in English from WINDHAM and NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND.

The poetry program began at UConn in 1964 with a gift from the Hartford Insurance Group, now The Hartford, to support cash awards and books of poetry as prizes to young poets and to bring

a distinguished poet to the University of Connecticut. Over the years, the program has brought to Storrs and Hartford, poets including Robert Lowell, W.S. Merwin, Jne Jordan, Anne Sexton, Marianne Moore, James Merrill, Robert Bly, Allen Ginsberg, Carolyn Forche and Louise Gluck.

The program honors the memory of Wallace Stevens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who was an insurance executive at The Hartford for 38 years. Stevens died in 1955, three months after receiving the Pulitzer. In 1949, he won the Bollingen Prize. He received two National Book Awards for volumes of poetry published in 1951 and 1955.