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Chelsea Dingman

USF poet Chelsea Dingman Wins National Poetry Series

TAMPA, Fla. – USF Master of Fine Arts Poetry Candidate Chelsea Dingman won the National Poetry Series 2016 Open Competition. Her poetry collection, Thaw, will be published by the University of Georgia Press.

"This book is beautifully wrought and, dare I say, heartfelt," says Allison Joseph, judge for the competition. "Dingman is not afraid to move emotions here, there and everywhere."

Dingman wrote the book as the result of a directed studies course with USF poetry professor Jay Hopler, who also serves as her thesis director.

“The National Poetry Series is, without a doubt, one of the most prestigious and important literary awards in the country,” says Hopler. “Since 1978, the series has been responsible for launching the careers of those who are now America’s most celebrated poets; indeed, the list of NPS winners is a who’s who of contemporary American poetry. To win the National Poetry Series is a career-defining achievement.”

The imagery of her poems explores the invitation and impermanence of landscapes. The book is loosely based on Dingman’s childhood and grounded in the landscapes of western Canada, although the experiences of the narrator are imagined. Florida is also represented in the book when the speaker moves and a question of personal exile arises.

“It was so much fun to write,” Dingman says. “Even though I worked long and hard at it, the process was exhilarating.”

Dingman has enjoyed much success in her time at USF. She has published poetry at Day One, The Normal School, andThe American Literary Review, among others. She was a winner of The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, a semifinalist for the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize for Women and the Philip Levine Poetry Prize, among other honors. To learn more about Dingman’s work, visit her website:

For more information about poetry at USF, please contact Dr. Jay Hopler at For more information on USF's creative writing program in the Department of English, contact Program Director, Rita Ciresi at

The University of South Florida’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a graduate-level program offering concentrations in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The program emphasizes the craft of writing and concentrates on students’ original work. For more information, see

Filed under:Arts and Sciences English