Winifred Hughes smiles while sitting at her desk, holding a magazine that reads: See beautiful birds every day

to Winifred Hughes

from Princeton, New Jersey
the 2024 Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize for a Writer 70 or Older Winner
for her manuscript,

The Village of New Ghosts

From the Judge

The task of “the poet” is brilliantly fulfilled with sonics, structure, detail, richness and care. But where this book truly exceeds and excels is in creating a hologram of emotions, a reality we can enter, where aesthetics are crisp and clear enough to create a new paradigm. Poetics that bring emotional worlds into existence have to be held in place with mastery. Someone is obviously in charge of this work. Someone is in control of its precise syntax and beautiful heart. I never wanted to stop reading.

Grace Cavalieri, Judge
former Maryland Poet Laureate and host of The Poet and The Poem

About the Poet

A “reformed academic,” Winifred Hughes (Winnie) began reading and writing poetry when her children were young and found she had no time or attention span for three-volume Victorian novels, her previous field of research at Princeton University. Winnie is also an active hiker and birder, who spends as much time as possible outdoors. Currently she teaches courses in nature writing and ecopoetry at the Watershed Institute in Pennington, NJ, and leads many bird walks there and in the local wetlands.
The Village of New Ghosts is her first full-length collection of poetry.
She is a longtime member of U.S. 1 Poets Cooperative, established in the early 70s, dedicated to fostering new poets. She was married to the late Fred Spar; their two grown sons are Adam and Alex Spar.

The Village of New Ghosts is due out Fall 2024.

2024 Runner-Up, Finalists & Semi-Finalists


Rick Rohdenburg from Duluth, GA: Crows Fly from My Mouth


Melissa Cannon from Antioch, TN: Doll/Face
Kathy O’Fallon from Carlsbad, CA: Listening for Tchaikovsky


Karen Bashkirew from Bozeman, MT: Stillpoint
Sheila Bonnell from South Orleans, MA: Albedo
Helen Bournas-Ney from New York, NY: Just Like the Sky, but Nearer
Helen Chinitz from Walton, NY: If Summer Sear the Landscape
Sandra Cutuli from Los Angeles, CA: Tracks and Signs
Marc Douglass-Smith from Lebanon, NH: A River in Still Life
Deborah French Frisher from Mill Valley, CA: Howl Now & 52 Other Poems
Gordon Grilz from Tucson, AZ: Just North of My Dreams: A Collection of Poems from Prison
Judy Kaber from Belfast, ME: Landscape with Rocks, Sky, Nails
Elizabeth Kanell from Waterford, VT: Break-Out Room
Ellen Lager from Robbinsdale, MN: Buried Beneath All That Love
Nancy Meyer from Portola Valley, CA: The Stoop and The Steeple
Michael Mulvihill from Staunton, VA: The Distant Pines
Phillip Periman from Amarillo, TX: Dying: The First Six Years
Jim Scutti from Vero Beach, FL: Family Planet
Richelle Slota from San Francisco, CA: Letters to My Dead Name
Jil St. Ledger-Roty from Franklinville, NY: Lost and Found and Lost Again
Steven Winn from San Francisco, CA: Late Light
Avra Wing from Brooklyn, NY: Mammoth Life & Accident
Cynthia Woods from Philadelphia, PA: Lines Over 70

From the editors: Thank you to everyone who sent us their excellent manuscripts for this prize. A special thank you to Grace Cavalieri for all the passion she brought to her duties as contest judge, celebrating the beauty and artistry of all the manuscripts she read. Henry Morgenthau, who published his first book of poems at age 99, would be overjoyed to see ‘newer’ older poets receiving national recognition for their artistic achievements. 

The Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize is awarded biennially to a poet 70 or older. Read more about Henry Morgenthau III and his legacy here.