USF poet and masters student Chelsea Dingman wins national poetry competition

Chelsea Dingman, Master of Fine Arts Poetry Candidate in the University of South Florida Department of English, has won the prestigious National Poetry Series 2016 Open Competition.

The University of Georgia Press will publish her winning collection of poetry entitled Thaw. Dingman composed these poems for a directed studies course with Dr. Jay Hopler, USF poetry professor and Dingman’s thesis director.

“The National Poetry Series is, without a doubt, one of the most prestigious and important literary awards in the country,” said Hopler in a press release. “Since 1978, the series has been responsible for launching the careers of those who are now America’s most celebrated poets; indeed, the list of NPS winners is a who’s who of contemporary American poetry. To win the National Poetry Series is a career-defining achievement.”

Allison Joseph, a judge for the competition, described Dingman’s poetry in the same release as “...beautifully wrought and, dare I say, heartfelt.”

Based on Dingman’s childhood in western Canada, Thaw explores the fabricated journey of the narrator and examines the appeal and ephemerality of landscapes.

“It was so much fun to write. Even though I worked long and hard at it, the process was exhilarating,” says Dingman.

Dingman already boasts numerous published works and impressive honors. Throughout her studies at USF, she earned publications in Day One, The Normal School and The American Literary Review. She was a semifinalist for the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize for Women and the Philip Levine Poetry Prize, and won The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize.

Visit Dingman’s website,, for more information about her work. Contact Dr. Jay Hopler at [email protected] to learn more about poetry at USF, and Rita Ciresi, Program Director of the Department of English, at [email protected] to learn more about USF’s creative writing program.

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