95TH ANNUAL POETS' DINNER/CONTEST DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 6, 2022

94th Annual Poets' Dinner Contest

Saturday, April 4, 2020

CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19

We have had to cancel our 94th annual Poets' Dinner Banquet,

CLICK HERE to view/download the WINNERS LIST

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93rd Annual Poets' Dinner Contest

Saturday, March 30 2019

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant

611 Gregory Ln., Pleasant Hill, CA

Theme: AWE

Drawing on front cover of program

by Don Gilbert (Zen Master Ta Hui)

THANKS to Guest Speaker: ROBERT MCNALLY

Robert McNally with chair Evie Groch and Natica & Richard Angilly

Photo by Georgette Howington

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner KATHLEEN MCCLUNG and all the winners!

For the list of the Award Winning Poems & Poets, click here.

More thanks to chair EVIE GROCH, the contest judges, readers,

the arrangements committee and all 95 attendees of the event.

Follow-up Event:

The Ina Coolbirth Circle invited all Prize and Honorable Mention winners of the 93rd Poets' Dinner Contest

to be further honored by reading their winning poems at the Circle meeting, Saturday, April 27, 2019.

Winners had the pleasure of reading in the company of distinguished editor

ELIZABETH HACK of SAN FRANCISCO PEACE & HOPE

(plus SFP&H contributing poets KIT KENNEDY, JOHN ROWE, and JUDY WELLS were featured).

(John Rowe, Kit Kennedy, Judy Wells, Elizabeth Hack)

The meeting was held at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Dr., Lafayette, CA.

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92nd Annual Poets' Dinner Contest

Saturday, March 24, 2018

11:30 AM - 4:00 PM

at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant

611 Gregory Ln., Pleasant Hill, CA

Theme: FIRE

THANKS to Guest Speaker: SUSAN TERRIS

For the text of Susan's talk, click here.

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner WILLIAM LANDIS and all the winners!

For the list of the Award Winning Poems & Poets, click here.

More thanks to chair LUCILLE LANG DAY, the contest judges, readers,

the arrangements committee and all who attended the event.

Check out the 3/24/18 event photos on facebook.

Follow-up Event:

The Ina Coolbirth Circle invited all Prize and Honorable Mention winners of the 92nd Poets' Dinner Contest

to be further honored by reading their winning poems at the Circle meeting, Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Winners had the pleasure of reading in the company of distinguished poet, DIANE FRANK.

The meeting was held at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Dr., Lafayette, CA.

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91st Annual Poets' Dinner Contest

Program by David Alpaugh

at Zio Fraedo's Restaurant

611 Gregory Ln., Pleasant Hill, CA

THANKS to Guest Speaker: MAX GUTMANN

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner CAROLE DWINELL and all the winners!

For the list of the Award Winning Poems & Poets, click here.

More thanks to this year's co-chairs JAN & SAM HERSH, the contest judges,

the readers, the arrangements committee and all who attended the event.

Check out the 4/1/17 event photos on facebook.

Follow-up Event:

The Ina Coolbirth Circle invited all Prize and Honorable Mention winners of the 91st Poets' Dinner Contest

to be further honored by reading their winning poems at the Circle meeting, Saturday, April 22, 2017.

Winners had the pleasure of reading in the company of distinguished poet, DEAN RADER.

The meeting was held at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Dr., Lafayette, CA.

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90th ANNUAL POETS' DINNER CONTEST (2016)

To view or download the WINNERS LIST, click here.

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner STAN MORNER and all the winners!

Stan Morner, Grand Prize Winner

with Judith Chibante Neal, Event Chair

April 2, 2016

Check out the 4/2/16 event photos on facebook.

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89th ANNUAL POETS' DINNER CONTEST (2015)

Roy Mash, Grand Prize Winner

Ellen Bass, Speaker

(Photo courtesy of Judy Cheung)

Check out the 4/11/15 event photos on facebook.

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88th ANNUAL POETS' DINNER CONTEST (2014)

At the 87th Annual Poets' Dinner (2013)

At the 86th Annual Poets' Dinner (2012)

(Photo courtesy of Deborah Grossman)

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Annual Migration for the Love of Poetry

Year after year, beginning on March 15, 1927,

they have arrived at the Poets' Dinner. They've

come from all over: Eureka to Santa Barbara, from

Downieville to the east, and even at times from out

of state. "They" are folks with an addiction to poetry

who look for others with a like affliction.

They come to the awards program to hear a guest

speaker tell of a particular take on poetry. They have

entered their poems, sent them anonymously to the

Contest Chair, and they come to find out whether

any of their poems are read aloud in that designated

area following the banquet and the speaker. Authors

identified, applause is instantaneous and spirited,

and the prizes are meted out.

The contest is no-fee, but the contestant must

be present at the awards to show authorship. That

opportunity to meet other contestants is an admitted

bounty, because it brings possible help where all

arrangements are done gratis. Prizes, both cash and

books, are funded by donations. And, yes, there

is expected impartiality from judges in far places,

where the contestants are less likely to be known.

What keeps the Poets' Dinner on the burner?

According to Minnie Faegre Knox, one of the

triumvirate that launched it, the Poets' Dinner is

fueled by "tradition, friendship, and the love of poetry."

Dorothy V. Benson, Berkeley CA

Connie Post, frequent winner over the years, receives a prize from Natica Angilly at the 81st Annual Poets' Dinner in 2007 (left photo)

and she took home three prizes at the 87th in 2013 (right photo)! (Photos courtesy of Connie Post & Deborah Grossman)

“I have been coming to the Poets' Dinner for twenty years (never missed a one) and each time there is such a wonderful array of poets who have become friends. I always particularly like the surprise of the announcements. It adds a sense of suspense I enjoy. I love the sense of community that is ever present. Also, there is a sense of history. It’s a day for poets to get together and talk, eat, have fun and cheer for each other. When you are notified that you won a poetry award at home via e-mail or mail, you are alone when you read the news and that news is later shared with friends, etc., in one way. But, there is a special element to earning a prize at the Poets' Dinner, where you get to rise in a room of your peers and be acknowledged for your poetry. It does add a unique sense of accomplishment to the day. I love the little slips you get to write your entries on, the table decorations and shaking the hand of the award presenter. So many great things about it.”

- Connie Post, first & former Poet Laureate of Livermore, CA

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75th Poets' Dinner Anthology

Courtesy of a Berkeley Arts Commission grant,

a Poets' Dinner anthology entitled Remembering is available.

It celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Poets' Dinner and features

Grand and First Prize winners from the preceding 25 years.

Purchase it for $6 at the book table at the 4/1/17 event,

or contact John Rowe at (510) 859-7734 or rowepoet@yahoo.com

to make arrangements for mail order.

The Annual Poets' Dinner/Contest is volunteer run, non-profit,

now officially affiliated with and overseen by the Ina Coolbrith Circle.


Website maintained by John Rowe. Last updated March 31, 2022.