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Meet Our Judges for 2024!

JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS is the author of seven poetry collections, including Scale Model of a Country at Dawn (Cider Press Review Poetry Award),The Drowning House (Elixir Press Poetry Award), As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). A twenty-six-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and founder of the Caesura Poetry Workshop series. Previous publishing credits include Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Verse Daily, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, and TriQuarterly.

John is judging the new Traditional Forms contest which includes the ghazal, pantoum, sonnet and villanelle.

MICHAEL DYLAN WELCH has been active with haiku for more than 40 years. He founded his press, Press Here, in 1989, edited Woodnotes from 1989 to 1997, and Tundra from 1998 to 2001, and is currently coediting First Frost. Michael cofounded the Haiku North America conference in 1991 and the American Haiku Archives in 1996, and founded the Tanka Society of America in 2000, the Seabeck Haiku Getaway in 2008, and National Haiku Writing Month (www.nahaiwrimo.com)in 2010. His haiku have been carved into stone in New Zealand, printed on balloons in Los Angeles, and read for the Empress of Japan and at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Michael served two terms as poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, is president of the Redmond Association of Spokenword, and has curated SoulFood Poetry Night since 2006. He was keynote speaker for the 2013 Haiku International Association annual convention in Japan, and had one of his translations printed on the back of 150,000,000 U.S. postage stamps in 2012. Michael has published 76 books, won first place in the Henderson, Brady, Drevniok, and Tokutomi haiku contests, among others, and his poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, translated into more than twenty languages. His website, devoted mostly to haiku, is www.graceguts.com

Michael will judge the Haiku competition.

VINCE GOTERA teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was Editor of the North American Review (2000-2016). He is also former Editor of Star*Line, the print journal of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (2017-2020). His poetry collections include Dragonfly, Ghost Wars, Fighting Kite, The Coolest Month, and the upcoming Pacific Crossing. Recent poems appeared in Altered Reality Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Dreams & Nightmares, The Ekphrastic Review, Philippines Graphic (Philippines), Rosebud, The Wild Word (Germany) and the anthologies Multiverse (UK), Dear America, and Hay(na)ku 15. He blogs at The Man with the Blue Guitar (http://vincegotera.blogspot.com).

Vince will judge the Grant Wood Poetry Prize contest in 2024.
ROBBIN FARR is a founder and the editor of River Heron Review since 2018 and River Heron Writers' Workshops, offering a variety of workshops and retreats since 2019. Returning to her own writing after twenty-three years facilitating high-school education as a literature and creative writing teacher, she has since published two books of poetry, Transience (2018) and Become Echo (2023) and has published poems and lyric essays in numerous journals and anthologies. Robbin has also presented panels and informational sessions at conferences and with various writers' groups. When not helming River Heron, she mentors novice writers and is on the board of the regional arts council, where she is instrumental in providing support for its literary arts programs. Robbin lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Richard, cat Charlie, and precariously piled stacks of poetry books.

Robbin is judging the National/World Events contest.
DOROTHIA ROHNER is a full time children's book author and illustrator. Previously, she studied fine art, graphic design, and illustration at several universities. With an interest in both science and art, she ultimately graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Biological Pre-Medical Illustration. Throughout her various careers as an illustrator and artist, she pursued writing children's books in her free time. Her first authored picture book, I Am Goose! (Clarion-2020) was listed in the Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2021-Humor Section. In 2022, her debut author/illustrator book, A Wish for Twins, The Tale of Our Two Miracles, (Doubleday, Penguin Random House) was published. She enjoys working with children and sharing her passions for writing, art, nature and imagination. Visit dorothiarohner.com to learn more.

Dorothia is judging the Poetry For Children contest.
Currently splitting her time between Conifer and Frederick, JULIE CUMMINGS is known for her contributions to the literary world through many facets. In addition to being the President of the National Federation Of State Poetry Societies, Ms. Cummings also facilitates and conducts workshops on various writing topics on a regular basis and hosts a monthly open mic on Zoom. Ms. Cummings' poems have been published in several anthologies over the course of the past several years. She has a book, Ride Of My Life, available on amazon and direct purchase. She recently retired from teaching middle school.

Julie will judge the Humorous Verse category.
MICHAEL CARRINO received his M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College. He is retired from the State University College at Plattsburgh, New York, where he taught English and Creative Writing for twenty-five years. He was co-founder and poetry editor of the Saranac Review. His publications include Some Rescues, (New Poets Series, Inc.) Under This Combustible Sky, (Mellen Poetry Press), Café Sonata, (Brown Pepper Press), Autumn's Return to the Maple Pavilion (Conestoga Press), By Available Light (Guernica Editions), Always Close, Forever Careless (Kelsay Books), Until I've Forgotten, Until I'm Stunned (Kelsay Books), and In No Hurry (Kelsay Books). He lives with his wife on the shores of Lake Champlain in upstate New York.

Michael will judge the contest for College Students.
ROBERT SCHINZEL grew up as a rolling stone, a gypsy nomad, moving frequently when his father's work took the family from town to town and overseas, offering him a look at the world as a kaleidoscope of divergent lifestyles and views. With a master's degree in geography, Bob worked for the Forest Service in watershed management, fought wildfires, then left for a 33-year career in law enforcement as both detective sergeant in Sacramento and federal agent and administrator in various states and Panama. After retirement, he began writing poetry to capture the strange visions bottled up inside. He sees humans as the animals they are, with quirks and eccentricities, ugliness and beauty, savagery and compassion. His poems show the close relationships between nature and human behavior. He is a member of the Denton Poets Assembly and the Poetry Society of Texas. His poems have won numerous national contests and appear in over two dozen anthologies. He is author of two poetry books of his own: Into the Fire - A Cop's View in Verse which chronicles his thoughts on the state of law enforcement and firefighting in American society, and Westbound 380 - A Highway Through Time, which won the Fort Worth Poetry Society's William D. Barney Chapbook Contest in 2019. Bob encourages everyone to give poetry a chance, maybe by putting a few words of their own to paper.

Robert is judging the K-4 and 5-8th Grade Contests in the Student Division.

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