The Osborn Poetry Prize
The Osborn Poetry Prize was endowed in the 1970s by the late author and poet, Stellanova B. Osborn. Originally a twenty-five dollar annual prize, the endowment now awards one student each year a $750 cash prize.
The tradition of the prize-winning poem being published in the historic Woods-Runner continues to this day with the winning poet being published in the LSSU journal, Snowdrifts.
The prize is currently offered to a junior or senior at LSSU, who shows exceptional promise in poetry writing. The winner of the Stellanova Osborn Poetry Prize is selected every spring by a board of English faculty. Submissions are submitted and considered anonymously, so that each piece can be judged on its merits alone. Only after the winning poem has been chosen are the poets identified.
This year, a number of excellent poems were submitted. The winning poem will be published in Snowdrifts, which will be released in April.
Taylor Worsham, for “November’s Storms” (a dedication to the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald), junior, Literature – Creative Writing major
Finalists (in alphabetical order):
Elizabeth “Lizziegh” Enos, for “Only Winter,” junior, double majoring in Literature – Creative Writing and Conservation Biology
Elizabeth Garavaglia, for “Sun & Seizure: An Unlikely Love Story” and “Out Here in the Sticks,” junior, Psychology major and Creative Writing minor
Genevieve Smith, for “Love You to Pieces,” junior, double majoring in Literature – Creative Writing and Communication
Taylor Worsham, for “The Ballroom Dance” and “An Episode,” junior, Literature – Creative Writing
How to Apply
Applications are accepted annually. Juniors and seniors may submit up to three poems during the application period (December 1-March 31). Each poem must be titled. All entries must be e-mailed and sent as attachments to . Please include all poems in a single file. In the e-mail, list your poem title(s), student number, major, and year in the program.
In the file attachment, include only your student number and address on the top left-hand corner of the first page. Do not include your name. The judges consider applications anonymously. Put “Osborn Poetry Prize” in the email title. There are no restrictions on subject or style. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize, if no applications of winning quality are received. Submission of your poems is considered permission to publish them in Snowdrifts.
About Stellanova B. Osborn
This river haunts me!
My heart cannot contain
Its flooding grandeur…
— Stellanova B. Osborn, “Primitive Art,” 1949
Stellanova B. Osborn was born Stellanova Lee Brunt in Ontario on July 31, 1894. She earned a Master of Arts in literature from the University of Michigan. Her poetry appeared during the mid-20th century in Michigan publications like Balsam Boughs, Beside the Cabin, and Summer Songs of the St. Mary’s River.
Known especially for her poetry of place about waterways in Michigan, she worked as an editor for the University of Michigan. Stellanova also served as the literary secretary of her future husband, Chase S. Osborn, who was governor of Michigan from 1911-1912.
After Stellanova’s death in 1988, she was buried with her husband in the Osborn Family Cemetery on Duck Island, an offshoot of Sugar Island. Her papers are archived at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library.