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Past Winners

Newman Prize for English Jueju
Past Winners


Jacqueline Gibson, Jueju prize winner

Newman Prize for English Jueju

August 29, 2022

2022 Newman Prize for English Jueju Poetry Winners Announced



Sofia Saronne, UK winner, Saint Paul’s Girls School, London
Tobin Bosse, Oklahoma Middle school winner, Norman (home school)
Dylan Chaoomchaisiri, Oklahoma high school winner, Mustang High School
Jacob Dayon, Oklahoma adult winner, University of Oklahoma

Honorable Mention:

Wiley Zeigler, Oklahoma middle school category, Whittier Middle School, Norman
Jenni Luong, Oklahoma high school category, Norman North High School
Alison Ramsey,
Okahoma adult category, University of Oklahoma
Jian Ling Shen, teachers' category, St. Albans School, UK

UK winner Sofia Saronne with a “ze-start" new style jueju:


Cold mist,       fresh buds,      small chicks sing

Thin haze,       sweet scent,     wind chimes ring

Clear stream,   lush grass,       young child shifts

New birth,       bright dawn,    once more spring.

Cold (2) mist (4)         /         fresh (1short) buds (1 long)/ small (2) chicks (4) sing (1 long)

Thin (1 short) haze (1 long)/   sweet (2) scent (4),     wind (1short) chimes (1 long)  ring (long)

Clear (1 short) stream (1 long)/ lush (2) grass (4),     young (1 short) child (1 long) shifts (4)

New (2) birth (4)  /         bright (1 short)  dawn (1 long) /   once (2)  more (4) spring (1 long).Sofia’s poem follows the ancient “ze-start” vowel pattern:

We can see that the first line’s word units are parallel in meaning with the second line as pairs like “cold mist” and “thin haze” or “fresh buds” and “sweet scents” or “small chicks sign” with “wind chimes ring” all have an unmistakable sympathetic resonance. The Meanings may be perfectly parallel, but their vowels are perfectly antithetical, where there is a unit ending in a “ze” sound above, it will have a unit ending in a “ping” sound both below it and coming after it.

In this way Sofia’s poem reveals the possibility to bring language itself into harmony by balancing the yin and yang of both meaning and sound. Meanwhile the poem’s message develops from nature to human emotion and the message of new beginnings.

Oklahoma Middle school winner Tobin Bosse with a “ze-start" new style Jueju:

Sóft mìst  /           wārm āir                    smáll broòk  flōws

Līght fōg /           swíft gùst                    quīck streām  gōes

Rōugh haīl /        báre  dìrt                      cōld    hārd    nìght

Frésh hòpe /        brāve dāwn                  yóung gràss  grōws

Sóft mìst  / wārm āir/ smáll broòk  flōws

Līght fōg /swíft gust/ quīck streām  gōes

Rōugh haīl / báre  dirt/ cōld   hārd   nìght

Frésh hòpe / brāve dāwn/ yóung gràss grōws


                        First Light

Soft mist         warm air          small brook flows

Light fog         swift breeze     quick stream goes

Rough hail      bare ground     cold hard night

Fresh hope      brave dawn     young grass grows

The poem begins with the two-word unit “Soft mist” which is parallel in meaning with the two-word unit beneath it “Light fog,” yet their vowels are opposite with the first two-word unit ending in a “ze” sound and the one beneath it a “ping” vowel sound. And yet as we look to the third line, which see “rough hail” which holds an opposite meaning (antithetical meaning) to the word units above it, but their sounds are perfectly parallel with the word group above it (as it also ends in a “ping” sound). As we read the rest of Tobin’s poem we can see that every other word unit are equally well balanced with each word following the prescribed pattern of meanings and vowel sound which result in a poem that not only announces the end of hard times and heralds rebirth, but has done so by bringing language itself into harmony and balance with nature.

Oklahoma high school winner Dylan Chaoomchaisiri (student of Karen Bullen) with an amazing old-style jueju:

Scarce Clouds Vast sky          Warm swift wind

Calm stream    Bright bloom   Oak birch blend

Faint voice      Still Dock        One last cast

Sun Fall           Moon rise        Sweet days end

Dylan’s poem captures an eternal moment familiar to many in Oklahoma, the last cast of a fishing line at dusk before calling it a night. The old-style jueju rules require a poet to write the first two lines introducing and deepening the description of a natural scene (oak birch blend), while the third line introduces a human element, and the fourth line reveal how the external scene resonates with ones internal feeling. And for master poets, like Dylan, we also receive an insight. In this case that sweet days, like all things exist in cycles. 

Oklahoma adult category winner Jacob Dayon (OU) with a “ping-start" new style jueju:

            The Last Day of Summer

Clear sky                     fresh grass       cool breeze slows

Bright dusk                 earth trail         calm creek flows

Blurred thoughts         dead end          torn heart sinks

Vast air                       new trek          still bird crows

Clēar skȳ  /           frésh gràss /      cōol brēeze slōws

Bríght dùsk /        ēarth trāil        cálm creèk flōws

Blúrred thòughts/  dēad ēnd         tórn hèart sìnks

Vāst aīr /               néw trèk/         stīll bīrd crōws

Jacob’s poem follows a “ping start pattern”

Clear sky is a “ping” word unit followed by a “ze” unit “fresh grass” and a three “ping” unit “cool breeze slows” while the next line is a perfect opposite: with “blurred thoughts” ending in a “ze” vowel, “earth trail” ending in a “ping vowel” and “calm creek flows” gives us a “ping, ze, ping” which follows the prescribed vowel pattern. Yet Jacob has also created a wonderful sense of parallelism in the meaning of these lines where “clear sky” is parallel with “bright dusk” and yet also creates an antithetical resonance with the third line’s  “blurred thoughts.”  The same can be said for the remaining word units in the first three lines. Finally his overall poem follows the underlying requirements of any jueju to offer a poem that reveals the interconnected nature of human feeling and the natural world ending in a single re-imagined natural image: “still bird crows.”

Oklahoma middle school honorable mention Wiley Zeigler (Whittier Middle School) with an old-style jueju:

Birds chirp      sun comes       day is here 

Cats yawn       stars go            six grows near 

We rise            sun shines       wind blows leaves 

Free heart        soft breeze       sky so clear

Like all great old-style Jueju, the poet places his or her upmost care on revealing the deeper connections between the external world of nature and the internal world of human feeling and perception. Wiley’s charming jueju does this by building careful parallel and antithetical meanings within the first three lines of the poem, while establishing a sense of cyclical time, while the fourth line provides a key insight into the human condition: how and what we see is conditioned by how and what we are feeling. With a “free heart,” it is not just that the breeze is soft, and the sky, so clear, but the mind of the one who beholds them as such.

Oklahoma high school honorable mention Jenni Luong (Norman North High School) with an old-style jueju:

            Mournful Night

Cool jade          soft silk            wood flute blows

Warm tea          high moon        light breeze flows

Old vows          lost youth          one mourns love

Lone girl           sad night           harsh time slows

Jenni’s poem, like Dylan’s chose to follow the rules of the Old-style jueju and focused her efforts on establishing the external scene which springs from the pages of Classical Chinese poetry with a strong emotion, again ending in a resonance and insight, one that reveals the subjective experience of loss.

Oklahoma adult honorable Alison Ramsey (OU) with a “ping-start" new-style jueju:


Sun (1 short) down (1 long)   Mild (2)  Gust (4)       Oak (1 short) trees (1 long) sway (1 long)

Lake (2)drifts(4)  / Clear (1short) Sky (1long)           Moon (2)glints(4)  grey (1long)

Tense (2) thoughts (4)/   Bright (1short) Star (1long)  Dim (2) light(4) Cast (4) 

Tired (1short) eyes (1long)     Brief (2) rest (4)          Bares (1short) new(1long) day (1long)

Sun down        Mild Gust        Oak trees sway

Lake drifts       Clear Sky        Moon glints grey

Tense mind     Bright Star      Dim light Cast 

Tired eyes       Brief rest         Bares new day

While Alison’s jueju doesn’t follow parallel meanings between lines, her poem follows the “ping-start new-style” vowel pattern with “Sun down,” a two-word unit that ends in a “ping” sound, and it is followed in the line by “mild gust,” a two-word unit that ends in a “ze” sound, while the corresponding word unit in line two below, “Lake drifts,” ends in a “ze” sound.   Each word unit follows this rigorous pattern.

Honorable Mention for School Teachers winner Jian Ling Shen of St. Albans School, UK for her “ping-start" new-style jueju:

Cold air           warm light       hawks soar high

Wet path         dry hay            calf bleat why

Old life            new phase       time let slip

Long days       short months   heart drums sigh

Like other “ping-start” new-style jueju Jian Ling matches the ping and ze sounds horizontally “cold air” (ping) followed by “warm light” with its “ze” end sound, and vertically with the “ze” pair “wet path.” From these first word pairs to the final “ping” phrase “heart drums sigh,” Jian Ling’s poem delivers.


Harold Newman and daughter Jo-Ellen Newman Shomer with 2019 Newman Prize for Englsh Jueju Winners.
Harold Newman and daughter Jo-Ellen Newman Shomer with 2019 Newman Prize for Englsh Jueju Winners.

Tobin Bosse, elementary winner, home school (Norman)
Carleigh Wilcox, Curtis Inge Middle School (Noble)
Ari Johnson, high school winner
Shane McClendon, adult winner, English teacher at Millwood High School (OKC)

Elementary school winner Tobin Bosse's poem not only follows the horizontal patterns and vertical parallelism of meaning but also follows the rules that require a poem to alternate between long and short vowel sounds in proscribed patterns handed down from 1,500 years ago. The poem, in short, is a masterpiece of English jueju! 

The Oasis

Hot sand          dry gust           quick rough wheeze

Pale earth        warm air          swift crisp breeze

Pure light        deep joy          worn soft heart

Lost pool         still grass         stout green trees

Middle school winner Carleigh Wilcox's poem is in the five-syllable genre of jueju. It is a truly beautiful poem filled with such startlingly imagistic details, from the ‘light tin” of the shark’s skin to the “short points” of its “thin teeth,” the poem’s immersive details are a delight to read.  

Deep Sea Shark

Gray shark      light tin shine

Thin teeth      short point fine

Blue pool        sea life thrive

Dark seas       deep salt brine

High school winner Ari Johnson composed a moving verse that invokes a winter landscape juxtaposed with images of a warm human world of a loving relationship. Traditionally, the key feature of a jueju is this merger of the external world of nature and the human world of emotion and Ari’s poem exemplifies this. 

Winter sights

White snow     tall trees          sun shines bright

Warm coat      cold nose         breeze is light

Young girls     hold hands       sing so soft

Still world       lone wolf         birds take flight

If you read our adult winner Shane McClendon's poem horizontally, you will find a beautiful poem that brings us into the Red Earth of the Oklahoma landscape and ends that suggests a meditation on the land run. But if you read the poem vertically, you will find the words are composed in columns following the rules of parallelism: “Red” is parallel with “dry” and antithetical with “coo.” The same is true of the next column: “Dirt” is parallel with “dust” and antithetical to “rain” and so on down the line. This pattern represents the ancient Chinese poetic form that balances the “yin and yang” of the work’s meanings to restore balance and harmony to the world in every poem. These complex rules make this poetic genre one of the most complicated forms in world literature.  

Red Dirt

Red        Dirt        Tall         Grass     Clear      Wild       Plains

Dry         Dust       Old         Leaves   Bare       Raw       Grains

Cool       Rain       Low       Clouds   Full        Hearts   Watch

Land      Loved    Ground  Lost       Where   Man       Claims


Colby Baumann, Tuttle Intermediate School
Jennifer Sosa, Carver Middle School (Tulsa)
Elizabeth Blazek, Norman High School
Lindsay Jones, University of Oklahoma (Norman)

Elementary school winner Colby Baumann wrote a poem full of sound; in his imagistic lines, readers can both see and hear the wind and the waves, and the imagination is stoked by suggestive words:

Blue sea     bright sun     green grass grows
Sharp rocks small clouds calm breeze blows
New boats   old rocks     waves crash down
Sun sets     moon rise      the sea flows

Middle school winner Jennifer Sosa’s poem evokes a very Oklahoman scene, where the weather can shift dramatically from "blue" to "grey" in the space of a minute, and a storm rolls in to create a “tense” sky. But there is a twist at the end, a sort of phenomenological question about whether what one sees is "real" or not:

Clear air  warm breeze  white clouds gleam
Blue sky    birds sing       low lone stream
Grey clouds  tense air      storm I see
Calm now     slight wind    it’s a dream.

High school winner Elizabeth Blazek composed a vivid piece depicting a quiet but eventful evening, in which one can feel the breeze and see the night stars through her delicate choice of words. Her poem conveys a feeling of contented excitement:

Vast sky  sparse clouds  stars shine bright
Clear air   soft breeze    moon glows white
Swift streak  hands held   wish is cast
Brief smile  warm touch  heart grows light

The winner of the college/adult category, Lindsay Jones, worked parallelism into her poem while at the same time evoking the changes that occur in the shift from winter to spring through rich images:

Dead leaves  stark sky  cold winds blow
Brown grass  gray clouds  chill air flows
New roots  rich land  warm earth holds
Deep down  sprouts reach  start to grow


2015 Young Poets

Morgan Brooks, Midwest City Elementary School
Ahsan Mashruf, Carver Middle School (Tulsa)
Lauren Morris, Deer Creek High School (Edmond) 
Nicole Emery, University of Oklahoma (Norman) 

Elementary school winner Morgan Brooks struck a deep chord with her evocative poems that bring the reader right into the moment that precedes an oncoming storm. We seem to be right there with her as the storm rolls in and we feel that rush of excitement and awe.

Black comes  night falls   dark blue sky
Grey  clouds    slight lit      see go by
Girls   jump      moist face   strong wind blows
Soft    breeze    lake shines   storm waves high

Middle school winner Ahsan Mashruf took everyone by surprise with a sophisticated poem marled by a clear use of parallelism and imagery as well as a thematic progression from the natural to the human world:

Bright day    clear   skies    warm light  shines
Warm noon  calm  winds   hot  sun   blinds
Cold  night   fierce shows   breath  like  ice
Red   fire     warms hands   rest  your  mind

High school winner Lauren Morris composed a moving verse that instills a powerful image of a wild fire with a delicate choice of words setting in motion the subtle yet frightening power of a Oklahoma grass fire.

sun  glares     wind blows   air stirs leaves
clouds shift   sky  shines    bird cuts breeze
smoke forms  grass burns  homes left bare
land  gone      ash stays       fires won't   cease

The majority of this year’s winners not only followed basic rules of composition (meter, rhyme, and thematic constraint), but also followed rules of parallelism, requiring them to compose their poems both vertically and horizontally at the same time. Nicole Emery, winner of the college/adult category accomplished this with tremendous skill.

Dark night   dim stars     fresh fog drifts
Gray dusk   pale moon     crisp haze shifts
Clear day    flushed skin   worn thoughts still
Night quits  morn’ breaks  slow hand lifts


2013 Young Poets

Donovan Helterbrand
Aaliyah Elders
Casey Cai
Spencer McCoy

2011 (Young Writer's Award)

2011 young writer

The 2011 Young Writer's Award was awarded to the Oklahoma high school student(s) whose 2,000-3,000 word mini-dictionary/ encyclopedia best captured the character of their high school. Dictionary entries could explore the people, places, slang or rituals that define their school.

Winner: Eleanor Sun, Edmond North High School
Runner-up: Nathan Hill, Union High School

Ananya Rudra, Norman North High School
Arthur Dixon, Ardmore High School
Jenna Adams, Rebecca Birdwell, and Leslie Nungester, Pawnee High School
Julie Frances Grice, Plainview High School
Lauren Hall, Norman North High School.

Jurist Caitlin Campbell: “Sun capably reminds us of the fun, spirit, and pride many of us experienced in high school, but at the same time she teaches us the unique characteristics of Edmond North. Sun conveys a tone and form clearly reminiscent of Han Shaogong’s A Dictionary of Maqiao while maintaining her own voice and making the style her own. This is quite simply a job well done.”

Jurist Kathy Hoang: “Every student realizes by the time of their graduation that their school has become more than just a place of learning. It has been, for the past four years, the nesting ground for memories, friendships, and experiences that have in some way or another transformed the student. To capture the character and spirit of the school is no easy task, but Eleanor Sun managed to do it with grace.”

2009 (Young Writer's Award)

2009 Young Writer

Winner: Fitore Kusari, Moore High School (Exchange student from Kosovo)

Fitore Kusari received the 2009 Newman Young Writer's Award for her essay "Taking Flight" about 2009 Newman Prize for Chinese Literature winner Mo Yan’s short story “Soaring.”