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SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Introduction from the Publisher of SDPA

by William Harry Harding

One of Steve Kowit’s last new poems appeared in the 2014-15 San Diego Poetry Annual, published March 1, 2015. He died just one month later, on April second. Poet, teacher, friend, and a man who delighted in describing himself as an “all-around no good troublemaker,” his influence spread far beyond his roots in Brooklyn and his adopted San Diego region. To honor his legacy, an award in his honor has been created by the San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild (SDEAG).

Modeled after the poetry prize developed by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and The Poetry Center in Paterson, NJ (named for one of Steve’s favorite poets, Allen Ginsberg), the inaugural Steve Kowit Poetry Prize will be presented on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. in the Art Gallery on the campus of Southwestern College. Gallery curator, Vallo Riberto, is hosting the event, which is open to the public.

The City of Chula Vista, through its public library system, provided a generous grant under its Performing and Visual Arts Fund. Honorariums are being paid to poets who read at and to musicians who perform at the event.

SDEAG provided the prize money: $1,000 for the winning poem, $250 for the first runner-up, and $100 for the second runner-up.

Entries were judged by Al Zolynas, poet and a close friend of Steve’s, and Jon Wesick, a Regional Editor of [the San Diego Poetry Annual].

The prize-winning poems and those selected for honorable mention were announced on December 15, 2016. They appear in print for the first time in [the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17] in this special section.

We may have lost a national treasure with Steve’s passing, but his influence, generosity, and memory live on in us, and now in this award.

Congratulations to the poets whose work is being honored, and to all poets who submitted such fine work, making the job of the judges so demanding, their choices so difficult.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

William Harry Harding

has written three novels, all from Holt, Rinehart & Winston: Rainbow (1979; Book-of-the-Month Club featured alternate), Young Hart (1982; New Jersey Writer’s Award of Merit), and Mill Song (1985; excerpted in Italian American Writers of New Jersey [Rutgers University Press: 2003]). His children’s book, Alvin’s Famous No-Horse (Henry Holt: 1992), illustrated by Michael Chesworth, has been translated into six languages.

He served as Book Critic for Westways (1980-90) and as Sports Editor of The Californian (1986-91), and contributed literary criticism to The Los Angeles Times. His fiction has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. His poems and short fiction have appeared recently in the Paterson Literary Review and LIPS Magazine.

Harding founded Garden Oak Press and chairs the 501(c)(3) non-profit, San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild (SDEAG); and is a member of ASCAP, the Writer’s Guild of America, West and The Author’s Guild.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury