The Studios of Key West would like to thank everyone who submitted entries to this year’s contest. Hundreds of wonderful poems and haiku were received from the United States and many other countries.

TSKW would like to thank Shirrel Rhoades, this year’s poetry judge, as well as Janelle Barrera and Francis Masat, this year’s haiku judges. (Please scroll to the bottom of the page for information on the judges).

Winning poems and haiku (as well as many other selected entries) will be published in a forthcoming e-book by Absolutely Amazing E-Books. Information about the book will be available here at www.tskw.org by early June.

If you would like to receive a notification when the 2014 contest submission period begins, please send a request to poetry@tskw.org,

America’s favorite poet, Frost (1874- 1963) won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry. He served as the U.S. poet laureate in 1958-59 and first visited Key West in 1934. Frost wrote one of his best-known poems, “The Gift Outright,” here and paid winter visits to Key West from 1945 to 1960 as the guest of local hostess and preservationist Jessie Porter, founder of the Heritage House Museum.

*Winners of the children and teen contest will be announced by April 7.


First Prize Poetry  / 2 Week Residency in Key West + $200 Cash Prize

A Prayer for Anne by Bud Navero – Key West, FL

Bud Navero is a Key West writer. He was a finalist in TSKW’s “Writes of Spring” contest last year.

It began on the NYC subway reading Ferlinghetti, Wordsworth, and Rimbaud, listening to Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and the Blues. It continued in incomparable Buffalo with Creeley, Dorn, Hollo, Kyger, Basho, DiPrima, Rudy and Cruz. It found its way into Afro-Cuba, Batucada, Marley, Hi-Life, Salsa, Compa, and dues. It’s what we owe to one another to remind us who we’re supposed to be.

Second Prize Poetry $100 Cash Prize – Key West, FL

Prelude to Form by Angela M. Williams

Angela M. Williams recently moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Key West, Florida with her beloved partner, Tim, and her dog and mentor, Maddie. She is putting together a manuscript of her work. She plans to publish her first book by December of 2013.


Third Prize Poetry $50 Cash Prize

the other woman by Shawn Maddox – Sheriden, WY

Shawn Maddox lives and writes in Wyoming, under a sky as vast as that of Key West.


Honorable Mentions (In no special order)

White Egret by Sara Shea -  Asheville, NC

Sara Shea is a poet, journalist and marketing consultant with a BA in English from Kenyon College. While at Kenyon, she served as a Student Associate Editor for The Kenyon Review and as an intern at National Geographic Magazine in Washington, D.C. After college, she served as Assistant Publisher for a Connecticut-based arts and entertainment guide and later founded a small marketing, public relations and graphic design firm. She currently resides in the Asheville, NC area, where she is enrolled in the Smoky Mountain Writers Program through UNC Asheville. She enjoys hiking and cycling in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She enjoys vacationing in Key West, Florida, where she participates in inspirational workshops offered by the Key West Literary Seminar.

Serenity by Carmen-Amanda Cortinas – Newark, NJ

Don’t let her city roots fool you. Carmen-Amanda’s soul is soothed by the sea. This native New Jersey poet’s inspiration is derived from her Spanish and Cuban heritage.  This is the first time Carmen- Amanda has submitted any of her poems to a contest. Her sister, Key West resident, Angelica Cortiñas, encouraged her to submit her work to the Robert Frost International Poetry Contest. Carmen- Amanda explains, “When a Lieutenant tells you to do something you can’t say no.” A graduate of Marymount College with a BA in Speech, Communications & Drama, Miss Cortiñas has always written poetry for herself, family and friends choosing acting as her profession.  After receiving a Masters in Bilingual Education from Kean University, Miss Cortiñas became a Spanish Bilingual teacher, and now inspires young international minds as an ESL teacher in New Jersey.  She would like to thank all of her family and friends for being so supportive.  Carmen-Amanda continues to write and plans on submitting more work in the future.

My Children by Rebecca Crum

Rebecca Crum was born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She currently lives and works in Des Moines, Iowa during the week and commutes to northern Iowa to be with her family on the weekends. Crum writes poetry and surreal short stories. She recently finished writing a collection of poems entitled Clue and the Kingston Trio.


First Prize Haiku 2 Week Residency in Key West + $200 Cash Prize

Jesse Curran – Northport, NY

           And now it’s Christmas
   on the roadsides, still those stacks
                 of unwanted wood

Jesse Curran lives in Northport, NY and recently received her PhD in English from Stony Brook University, where she currently teaches courses in literature, writing, and sustainability studies. From literary criticism to lyric fiction to poetry, Jesse writes across genre and thinks of writing as a means of being more fully present in the world. Her interest in haiku developed from her dissertation work, which thought through the relationship between ecological thinking, poetic practice, and diurnal awareness. She recently finished a project where she wrote a haiku-a-day for one year.


Second Prize Haiku $100 Cash Prize

Brian Robertson – Ottawa, Ontario 

        first AA meeting
       each snowflake on the window
       unlike my story

Raised in Ottawa, Brian studied in Toronto and Rio de Janeiro and is currently writing a doctoral thesis in green economics with a German university.  Brian began writing prose in 2006.  Since 2010, ten of his short stories and thirty of his haiku have been published among journals, newspapers, contests, and one anthology among the countries Germany, Austria, the US, Australia, and Japan.  His major project is a novel about the 1999 bombing of Serbia.

Third Prize Haiku $50 Cash Prize
Rebecca Lilly – Port Republic, VA

       As if it might’ve
       been otherwise—meadow frost

       glowing at dust

Rebecca Lilly has an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton. She works as a writer and part-time assistant to a landscape architect, and has published several books, among them three collections of haiku: Shadwell Hills (Birch Brook Press), Yesterday’s Footprints (Red Moon Press), and A Prism of WIngs (Antrim House), the latter a collection of haiku on butterflies. A book of her haiku on wildflowers is due out from Antrim House later in 2013.


Honorable Mention Haiku
Marsh Muirhead – Bemidji, MN

     last night of the carnival
     traces of sweetness
     tug at my flip flops

Marsh Muirhead is a writer, dentist, and flight instructor living on the banks of the Mississippi River near its source in northern Minnesota. He wrote his first haiku while attending the Robert Frost Festival in Key West in April of 2007.  Since then he has published over 100 haiku in the leading U.S. haiku journals, some of which have won prizes, many of which have been anthologized in other publications. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Southeast Review, Rattle, New Mexico Poetry Review, The Ledge, the secret of salt, and elsewhere. Marsh won the Robert Frost Poetry Contest in 2009, and has been a finalist in both the haiku and poetry contests on several occasions.  A very frequent visitor to Key West, he is the author of Key West Explained – a guide for the traveler.


Honorable Mention Haiku
Julie Warther – Dover, OH

     on the edge
     of a blue hole — matriarch
     by default

Julie Warther was the first place winner of the 2012 Robert Frost Haiku contest and will be completing her Key West residency June. She lives in Dover, Ohio, with her husband and three children.  She has worked as a high school drama teacher, private tutor, museum tour guide and office manager for a jingle writing company. Julie is a member of the Haiku Society of America and has been published in a number of haiku journals and anthologies as well as children’s magazines. She is currently working on a picture book biography of her husband’s grandfather, Ernest “Mooney” Warther, the World’s Master Carver. 


Honorable Mention Haiku
Stanford Forrester, Windsor, CT

     some black paper
     left over —
     making an origami crow

Stanford M. Forrester was the second place winner of the 2012 Robert Frost Haiku contest. He is a past president of the Haiku Society of America and founding editor of bottle rockets: a collection of short verse–which is in its 15th year.  Stanford conducts haiku workshops around the East Coast and is a freelance book designer.


The Judges:

Poetry Judge, Shirrel Rhoades

Shirrel Rhoades is a writer, publisher, syndicated film critic, filmmaker, former museum president, and taught at NYU for 17 years. He has held executive positions with Reader’s Digest, Harper’s, Scholastic, and Marvel Entertainment — to name a few. He is the founder and publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks and New Atlantian Library. As a young writer he apprenticed with James Larkin Pearson, then Poet Laureate of North Carolina. He loves words and creative uses of language.

Read a statement from Shirrel Rhoades about his thoughts on the judging the contest.

Haiku Judges, Janelle Barrera and Francis Masat

Janelle Barrera is a member of the Haiku Society of America, is an award winning haiku poet, and was responsible, while serving on the Robert Frost Poetry Festival committee, for bringing haiku related workshops to Key West. She is the editor of the Key-Ku column in Solares Hill.

Francis Masat is an award-winning haijin with over 1000 haiku and poems published. His poetry books are Lilacs After Winter (haibun), MET Press; A Taste of Key West, Pudding House Press; Threshing, March Street Press; and A Prairie Trilogy, Barnes and Noble.