Undergraduate students at Virginia Tech are invited to submit a poem about the future to compete for “The Steger, ” a new award established by President Charles W. Steger. The $1,000 prize ranks among the most generous for undergraduate poetry students in the nation.

The competition will be administered by University Distinguished Professor Nikki Giovanni, a member of the English faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and judged by a committee of faculty and staff from various disciplines at the university. In addition to the monetary award, a small statue made by a local jeweler will also be inscribed and presented to the winner.

“Undergraduates are encouraged to explore poetry and poems in all their aspects,” said Giovanni, an internationally-recognized poet. Giovanni is open to a wide definition of “poem” and hopes that she receives a spectrum of entries.

“A poem could be a warm piece of cornbread, a sky hook when the game is on the line, a math equation that allows us to traverse the stars, or stripping old work pants into a quilt,” said Giovanni. “We invite environmental designs, a photo, or a cure for an illness – anything that speaks to and about the future. We have been issued a challenge by our president, and I anticipate creative responses about our dreams for the future.”

Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, March 1, 2006 to the Department of English. The winner will be announced in early April, which is, appropriately, poetry month.

Submission Guidelines

==> The competition is open to all currently enrolled Virginia Tech undergraduate students.

==> If a written offering, it must be typed and double-spaced;

==> Submissions should include a cover page stating “The Steger”;

==> Entries should be submitted to the Creative Writing office in Shanks Hall, by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, 2006;

==> The decision of the judges is final;

==> Manuscripts will be recycled;

==> The winner will be announced in April.

Members of The Steger Committee include Salahuddin Choudhury, professor and co-director of special programs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies; Jack Dudley, assistant provost and director of the University Honors Program; Paul Lancaster, broadcast media coordinator; Fred D'Aguiar, professor and co-director of the Creative Writing Program; Lucinda Roy, Alumni Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of English; Virginia Fowler, professor and director of literature, language and cultural Programs; Katie Ammons, assistant director of student athlete academic support; Maj. George McNeill, director of the Highty Tighties; and Jean Elliott, communications manager for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

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