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April 8, 2002

Literature major wins top honors in statewide poetry contests

By Ann M. Gibb

Kristen Holden, a junior majoring in literature, has earned top honors in two statewide poetry competitions. "I'm elated," said Holden. "Of course it's what I wanted, but I wasn't expecting it to happen."

Kristen Holden with Charles Atkinson, an instructor in the Literature Department. Photo: Angelica Farber
Both of Holden's prize-winning works are expansive love poems. "Ten Love Poems Aching from Three Days" won first place in the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Competition, and "The Squaring of a Conversation between Loves" earned second place in the Poet Laureate Contest.

Holden's accomplishment continues a tradition of prize-winning poets at UCSC. Since 1997, UCSC students have earned six awards in the Poet Laureate and the Coolbrith Memorial competitions, including three first prizes.

"Kristen's poems are meditative and lyrical at the same time," said Charles Atkinson, an instructor in the Literature Department. "Her winning poems are startling, demanding and delicious all at once--quite a ride, from a gifted poet." Holden was recently accepted into the creative writing concentration in the UC Santa Cruz Literature Department.

The two poetry competitions were established in honor of Ina Coolbrith, who was appointed California's first poet laureate in 1915. They are both open to students from all campuses of the University of California, and the Coolbrith Memorial is also open to students at five additional California universities.

Holden will receive a total cash prize of $325 with her awards.


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