WSU Student Poet Receives National Award, Has Work Published

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University senior Hannah New will have a collection of her poems published as a result of being selected as the best in the nation by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS).

New's collection of 10 original poems was awarded the Florence Kahn Memorial Publication Award-University Level. As part of the honor, New will receive $500, have 100 copies of her poetry chapbook published, and receive $300 to help cover travel expenses to attend the NFSPS conference in San Antonio, June 8-11. Utah's chapter of the NFSPS, the Utah State Poetry Society, recently awarded her an additional $100 for being selected.

"When I found out I won, I jumped up and down on the bed for two hours," said New, who served as the poetry editor this year for WSU's student literary publication, Metaphor.

New titled the submitted collection "Fighting Nature," selecting poems she has written that deal with the ups and downs of life. Most of the poems were written while New has been enrolled at WSU, pursuing an English degree with an emphasis in creative writing.

New said the honor came as a complete surprise and renewed her confidence in her writing. She credits WSU English instructor and Metaphor adviser Brad Roghaar for pushing her to submit her work this year.

"You're always pleased to see a talented student like Hannah take the skills she has and have success," Roghaar said. "I'm thrilled for her to be published for the first time and get that kind of exposure."

Roghaar said the national competition attracts student poets from around the country, including schools like UCLA, University of Massachusetts, Texas Christian University and Trinity College. Attending the conference in San Antonio will offer New an opportunity to network with other poets and better understand what it takes to publish poetry, Roghaar said.

At the conference, New will have an opportunity to read her work, sign copies of her book and network with published poets from around the country. The trip also will give New a chance to meet Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet she respects and admires.

"I'm very excited for the opportunity to meet her and have her sign my books," New said.

New graduates this semester and hopes to continue to hone her writing in graduate school.

This is the second consecutive year that a WSU student-poet has been recognized by the NFSPS. Last year sophomore David Thacker took third place in this competition.

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Hannah New, WSU English major
(801) 781-0385 •
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 •