Richard Benvenuto High School Poetry Competition


Tom Samet High School Fiction Competition

The 2017 Benvenuto High School Poetry and Samet High School Fiction Competition winners with Director Anita Skeen (Left to right):  Kellen Adler (3rd, Fiction), Tommy Wiaduck (3rd, Poetry), Kyleah Allen-Teneyuque (1st, Poetry), Gabriel Duffield (1st, Fiction), and Hannah Lucas (Honorable mention, Poetry).

Not pictured: Ellie Hershner (Honorable mention, Fiction), Brooke Russell (2nd, Poetry), and Arianna Zaragoza (2nd, Fiction).

Each fall, the RCAH Center for Poetry holds the Richard Benvenuto High School Poetry Competition, with prize donated by Barry Gross in memory of his dear classmate, colleague, and friend Richard Benvenuto.

New in 2017 is the Tom Samet High School Fiction Competition, with prize donated by Barry Gross in memory of his esteemed friend Tom Samet.


For the Benvenuto High School Poetry Competition guidelines, click here.

For the Samet High School Fiction guidelines, click here.

Cash prizes are awarded for 1st Place ($100), 2nd Place ($75), 3rd Place ($50), and Honorable Mention ($25).


E-mail us at to register your school on our mailing list. The call for entries for the 2018 competition has been mailed to high schools. The competition is open to all students who attend a Michigan high school.

About Richard Benvenuto

Richard Ercole Benvenuto taught in the English Department at Michigan State University for 20 years. From his office in Morrill Hall he conducted grad student seminars and advised students on the best paths for their lives. He loved teaching and was a published scholar of Victorian Literature.  At the time of his death, Indiana University dedicated an issue of Victorian Studies in his honor. He published two biographies, one on Emily Bronte and the other on Amy Lowell. His next book would have been on Oscar Wilde. As a young grad student he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, which he used to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Hollins College, Virginia. At Hollins College, he worked under William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies. Richard played music and wrote poetry throughout his life. He was married for 27 years to his wife, Joyce and has three children and four grandchildren.

About Tom Samet

Tom Samet majored in English at Michigan State University and decided that he wanted to become an English professor. He graduated with High Honors, got a Ph.D in English and American Literature from Brown, and had a varied and  satisfying academic career which was cut tragically short by his death at age 52.

2017 Winners

Congratulations to all of our participants! The winning writers' prizes were awarded during our Fall Writing Festival, at the reading by George Ella Lyon and Diane Gilliam on October 31.

To read the winning entries, click on the titles below.



Benvenuto Poetry Prize Winners                                                        Samet Fiction Prize Winners


First Place: Kyleah Allen-Teneyuque                                                                                              First Place: Gabriel Duffield

High School: Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy                                                                 High School: Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy

Year in School: Senior                                                                                                                          Year in School: Sophomore

Sponsoring Teacher: Susan Wolverton                                                                                        Sponsoring Teacher: Jared Morningstar

Title of Poem:  2007                                                                                                                              Title of Story: Dr. GunsForHands



Second Place: Brooke Russell                                                                                                            Second Place:  Arianna Zaragoza

High School: Saint Joseph High School                                                                                        High School: Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy

Year In School: Sophomore                                                                                                                Year in School:  Junior

Sponsoring Teacher: Jessica Sherburn                                                                                        Sponsoring Teacher: Susan Wolverton

Title of Poem: Forsaken Words                                                                                                         Title of Story: To the Honey



Third Place: Thomas Wiaduck                                                                                                            Third Place: Kellen Adler

High School: Detroit Catholic Central                                                                                              High School: Detroit Catholic Central

Year In School: Senior                                                                                                                             Year in School: Junior

Sponsoring Teacher: Kevin Griffin                                                                                                   Sponsoring Teacher: Kevin Griffin

Title of Poem: Girasoles                                                                                                                         Title of Story: Scratch



Honorable Mention: Hannah Lucas                                                                                                 Honorable Mention: Ellie Hershner

School: Williamston High School                                                                                                      School: Dexter High School

Year in School: Senior                                                                                                                             Year in School: Freshman

Sponsoring Teacher: Jean Eddington-Shipman                                                                         Sponsoring Teacher: Alexander Heidtke

Title of Poem: a(nxious)verage                                                                                                          Title of Story: There are Times



Call us: (517) 884-1932  | Contact Information


Call MSU: (517) 355-1855 | Visit: | MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.

SPARTANS WILL. © Michigan State University