John Oliver Simon Award

2017-2018 Award Winners:

First Place:          Andrew Romanelli
Second Place:  Leisa Loan

Now Accepting 2018-2019 Applications!


The John Oliver Simon Award was created by Bruce Isaacson to acknowledge achievement by a poet who is a full time student.  The award provides a selected poet:

  • Recognition for achievement in the art of poetry.
  • $500 to support the study and writing of quality poetry.
  • A public reading with prominent Clark County poets.

The award provides the runner-up:

  • $200 to support the study and writing of quality poetry.

Award Eligibility:

  • Full-time student of age 15 and up
  • Current resident of Clark County, Nevada

Submission Round 1 – Deadline Sunday, December 30, 2018

Poets should submit 3-5 pages of original poetry by the deadline. 3-10 poets will be selected for the Semi-Final Round. Semi-finalists will be selected and informed by Sunday, February 3, 2019.

Submission Semi-Final Round – If selected, Deadline Sunday, March 3, 2019

Semi-finalists will then submit a manuscript of up to 15 pages of original poetry. It is acceptable to reuse poems from Round 1 in this submission. Please give your manuscript a working title. Semifinalists will also be asked to submit a Brief Statement on other poetry or poetic traditions that have influenced them or that they admire (1-2 pages).

Round 1 Submission Guidelines:

  • We encourage early submissions.
    Submissions must arrive on or before December 31, especially if mailed.
  • Please include a cover page with the following elements: your name, phone number, mailing address, email address.
  • Please do not include your name on any page except the cover page.
  • Poems should be typed in 12 pt. Times New Roman or Arial font.
  • Email submissions as .doc, .docx, or .rtf files to : [email protected]
    Mail submission to: Poetry Promise, Inc., 5771 Empress Garden Ct., Las Vegas, NV 89148
  • We will use a blind submissions process. Personal information should not appear on the poetry pages.

John Oliver Simon Award Final Selection – Sunday, April 7, 2019

The Poetry Promise Board and Clark County Poet Laureate will select the award recipient. This poet will receive a $500.00 award intended to further their study and writing of poetry. Finally, with guidance from Poetry Promise, Inc., the selected poet will be invited to perform as the featured artist at a John Oliver Simon Award Reading.

Click on Page 1 to download the guidelines:
Page 1

You may call (702) 706-2383 or email [email protected] for further details.

About the John Oliver Simon Award:
John Oliver Simon, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved poets, died in the early hours of January 16, 2018.  As an educator, Simon devoted himself to teaching children to write poetry. He co-founded and taught at the People’s Community School in Berkeley, 1969-1973. He was a former president and board member of California Poets in the Schools (CalPoets) and served as the artistic director of Poetry Inside Out, a program of the Center for the Art of Translation. In 2013, he was named the River of Words Teacher of the Year by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass. John and Bruce were colleagues and John consistently encouraged Bruce to create a Nevada Poets in the Schools. He offered guidance, a listening ear, and encouragement to Bruce. Indeed, John Oliver Simon was the catalyst for our Nevada Poets in the Schools program. We have renamed the Poetry Promise Award to honor John Oliver Simon.

Inspiration for the award also came from Bruce Isaacson’s reading of the life of Arthur Rimbaud:

Arthur Rimbaud was the most talented writer of his era, and was perhaps born with this gift. See the Rimbaud Chronology attached.  A lack of local understanding and opportunities led to his abandoning poetry at the age of 21 to become an adventurer and gun runner in colonial Africa. He has since been claimed as a prime inspiration by literary movements from the French Symbolists, Surrealists, Existentialists, Beats, Punk movement, etc… My hope in establishing the award and local workshops is to provide constructive avenues of engagement.  We hope to encourage literary understanding and achievement by promising writers.