Piri Thomas Poetry Prize
Administered by the Academy of American Poets, the Piri Thomas Poetry Prize was initiated in 2009 by Friends and Family of Piri Thomas (September 30, 1928 – October 17, 2011), and is given annually by The Poetry Center to an undergraduate student enrolled at SFSU in creative writing.
Piri Thomas's autobiography, Down These Mean Streets, was published in 1967 to wide acclaim, and chronicled his early life on the rough streets of El Barrio in Spanish Harlem, New York City. He worked for many years as an educator and advocate for young writers and readers, with a PBS film produced in 2003, titled Every Child is Born a Poet. A stellar recording for American Clavé shares the same title, and features the poet in performance with an outstanding array of artists from the jazz and Latin music world.
The Piri Thomas Poetry Prize carries a $100 cash award. Candidates for the Prize are nominated by SFSU Faculty. No submissions accepted. Prize winners include:
2014 : Branden Balenzuela
2013 : Jenna Littlejohn