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Claudia Ann Seaman
Award for Young Writers

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The Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers were created by the Seaman family in memory of their daughter and sister, a young poet. The CAS Award acknowledges excellence in teen writing in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.​

Nominees are selected each year by our editorial staff from the works that have been submitted to Polyphony Lit and accepted for publication. A distinguished panel of professional authors choose one winner each in poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction, to receive a $200 cash award. Two honorable mentions are also selected in each genre category.

Awards are selected each summer. Submissions that were published in Polyphony Lit's Fall Issue, Winter Issue, or Spring Issue during the preceding school year (September-May) are eligible for consideration. Please go to our Submit Page to learn more.

Volume 18 | 2022-2023


Judge:  Carlos Cumpián








Judge:  Alexis Pride







Creative Nonfiction

Judge:  Aaron Cohen








The Sun and Flowers, My Heaven's Neighbors, Olivia Cyrus

Collierville High School, Germantown, TN, USA

iceberg / beautiful, Fifi Wang

Taipei Fuhsing Private School, Taipei, Taiwan


Juicing Blood Oranges, Ziyi Yan

Greenwich High School, Riverside, CT, USA


A Half-Chewed Pew in a Friend's Apartment, Eliza Mahon

Mother Margaret Mary High School, Edmonton, AB, Canada

sesame baozi, Isabelle Kong

Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Eastvale, CA, USA


Apostasia, Nahye Lee

Chadwick International School, Songdo, Incheon, South Korea

BFFs, Phoebe Levitsky

Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Petals Seared Into Skin, Luiza Louback

Instituto Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil


Claudia Ann Seaman Awards Judges







Carlos Cumpián, Poetry

Carlos Cumpián a Chicagoan originally from Texas. Human Cicada (Prickly Pear Publishing) marks his fifth poetry collection: Coyote Sun (March Abrazo Press), Latino Rainbow (Children’s Press/Scholastic Books) Armadillo Charm (Tia Chucha Press), and 14 Abriles: Poems. In 2000, he was recognized with a Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poet Award. Cumpián has been included in more than thirty poetry anthologies, including the Norton Anthology Telling Stories. Before becoming a teacher, he worked with various social service organizations such as ASPIRA and public relations for the Chicago Public Library. Cumpián has
taught creative writing and poetry through community arts organizations including the National Museum of Mexican Art, Urban Gateways and as a writer-in residence funded by the Illinois Arts Council. Cumpián taught in the English Department of Columbia College Chicago and in the Chicago Public School and Charter school system. In addition, he has hosted live readings with Galeria Qui Que & La Palabra Series and published over 20 poets/writers with MARCH ABRAZO PRESS between 1978-2015. His most recent essay, “Learned to Read at My Momma’s Knee,” appears in With a Book in Their Hands: Chicano/a Readers and Readerships Across the Centuries (University of New Mexico Press, 2014). His first in a series of true supernatural accounts, “A Chicago Premonition” was published in Hombre Lobo #2, True Xicanax Spooky Stories, (Ponte Las Pilas Press, Los Angles, Ca. 2021) Cumpián is currently working on his “anti-war years” memoir Accidental Rebel: 1968-1976.









Alexis Pride, Fiction

Alexis Pride is the Interim Director of Graduate Programs at Columbia College Chicago and a professor of creative writing in the English and Creative Writing department. Pride also works as a contracted writer for Level 4 Press, Inc., where she co-authors novels that are optimized for film/television adaptation. Among her works are All I Want for Christmas (published in August 2022, Level 4 Press), which hit #1 for new releases on Amazon during its first week, and Satchel Paige, a forthcoming novel. Her other publications include Where the River Ends (Tanksley-Simpson Publishing), and short stories in TriQuarterly, F Magazine, and elsewhere. Among Pride’s scholarly publications are "Teaching Beyond the Text: What to Do If Johnny Can't Read So Good?" (The ICERI Proceedings, Seville, Spain, 2019), and “A World Pandemic and A Clarion Call: The New Push for DEI Initiatives in Higher Education” (iHSES, Los Angeles, 2021). Pride also served as the Fiction Editor for the inaugural issue of Allium, A Journal of Poetry & Prose, the multi-genre literary magazine published by Columbia College Chicago.










Aaron Cohen, Creative Nonfiction

Aaron Cohen teaches humanities at City Colleges of Chicago where his classes emphasize LatinAmerican culture in Chicago and throughout the world. His book, Move On Up: Chicago SoulMusic and Black Cultural Power (University of Chicago Press, 2019), looks at the social and musical changes that shaped R&B in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s. He also co-authored the late pianist Ramsey Lewis’ memoir, Gentleman of Jazz: A Life In Music (Blackstone Publishing, 2023). Cohen’s first book, Amazing Grace (33 1/3; Bloomsbury, 2011), analyzes  Aretha Franklin’s popular 1972 soul-gospel album. His articles appear in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune and DownBeat. Cohen has been a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar, DownBeat editor and is a two-time recipient of the Deems Taylor Award for outstanding music writing from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). 

Poetry Judge
Fiction Judge
CNF Judge
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