Thirty Poems for San Antonio’s First 300 Years


Our four judges have just gotten back to us with the results of the “30 Poems for the Tricentennial” Poetry Contest. And we are happy to say that after considering quite an extraordinarily high-quality group of over 300 submissions, they have selected the following 30 winning poems for publication in the chapbook, Thirty Poems for the Tricentennial: A Poetic Legacy.

The 30 selected poems will be interpreted into 2D works of art by local artists and designers to be installed in the City of San Antonio’s Culture Commons Gallery for a special exhibit.  

Thank you to all who submitted and congratulations to the winners.


Winning Poems

  1. “Drought in San Antonio” by Mariana Aitches
  2. “El Paradiso de Texas” by Dario Beniquez
  3. “Lily, Pad, and Pond” by Diane Bertrand
  4. “Anthem for the God of Justice” by Ariana Brown
  5. “Fray Damian Massanet Meets Los Payayas on June 13, 1691” by Jacinto Cardona
  6. “Lines in the Sand” by Carolyn Chatham
  7. “Esperanza” by Irene Chavez
  8. “The Hunter-Gather Could Swaddle in Deerskin” by Aaron Deutsch
  9. “One Sunday Morning at Travis Park United Methodist Church” by Cyra Dumitru
  10. “The First Jews of San Antonio” by Cassandra Farrin
  11. “Song for America V” by Fernando Esteban Flores
  12. “Heads or Tails” by Sofia Fortuno
  13. “dates in the 210” by John Fry
  14. “San Antonio River by Concepción Mission 1740” by Lisha Garcia
  15. “Rio Medina” by Joyce Henefield Coleman
  16. “Hijos Dalgos” by Lucas Jacob
  17. “La Verdad Olvidada” by Seres Jaime Magaña
  18. “Gone Yanaguana” by Pablo Miguel Martínez
  19. “Goat Man of San Antonio” by Robert McGowan
  20. “Ese Rinconcito del Mundo” by Regina Moya
  21. “remember” by Maya Obregon
  22. “La Posta del Palo Alto’ as San Antonio Poeta, 1935” by Kamala Platt
  23. “Merged Mundos” by Anjela Ratliff
  24. “A Three-Part Grito” by Bárbara Renaud González
  25. “Resurrection Song” by Ravi Shankar
  26. “Legacy of the Blue Hole”  by Linda Simone
  27. “San Antonio Son” by Burgin Streetman
  28. Yanaguana (prior to 1718) by Jon Tribble
  29. “Paleta-Man” by Eduardo Vega
  30. “Honey Mesquite Dreams the People” by Mobi Warren

Contest Closed

In honor of San Antonio’s Tricentennial, the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of San Antonio, with support from Gemini Ink, is sponsoring a poetry contest.

The contest will be judged by a panel of nationally recognized poets. Winners receive a $250 prize and publication in a chapbook titled, Thirty Poems for the Tricentennial: A Poetic Legacy. Winning poems will be turned into graphically designed vinyl installations by local artists and designers in an exhibit at the Plaza de Armas Gallery, and also installed in local libraries and city facilities. The anthology will be launched at a public reading and opening reception.

Contest Judges*

Rodney Gomez is the author of several award-winning poetry collections, including Mouth Filled with Night (Northwestern University Press, 2014) and A Short Tablature of Loss (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016). His newest collection Citizens of the Mausoleum is forthcoming in 2018 (Sundress Publication).

Patricia Spears Jones has won numerous honors in poetry, including the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for American Poets. Her most recent collection is: A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (2015).

Urayoán Noel is the author of award-winning poetry collections, both in English and Spanish, most recently Buzzing Hemisphere (2015) and the acclaimed literary study Invisible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (2014).

Sasha West’s first book of poems, Failure and I Bury the Body (Harper Perennial 2013), was a winner of the National Poetry Series and the Texas Institute of Letters First Book Award.

Themes and Categories

The contest contains six categories, described below, which span San Antonio’s dynamic 300-year history. Poems submitted need not be overtly “historical,” but must reference the culture/feeling/life of San Antonio during these different time periods.

  1. The Pre-Columbian era or Yanaguana (prior to 1718)

Yanaguana was the name the Payaya Indians gave their village, which is now the Bexar County area. It was a place abundant with water and fish. Poems submitted in this category might seek to summon San Antonio’s history before the arrival of the Spaniards and speak to the roots of the Payaya and their lands.

  1. The Spanish Colonial Period (1718-1809)

During this era, the Spanish colonizers strived to spread Christianity to the Native Americans living throughout different areas of Texas, including San Antonio. The San Antonio missions served as centers of power and religion where missionaries and friars saw their task as “educating” Native Americans. Poems in this category may reflect on the changes in culture, daily life, religion and architecture that took place during this time.

  1. Mexican era (1810-1836)

This era traces the origins of Anglo settlement in South Texas, the beginning of a Tejano identity, and the growing strife around Santa Anna, who was President of Mexico during this period. Poems in this category might touch on the political upheaval that took place during this time or trace the emergent Tejano identity.

  1. Texas Nation era (1836-1846)

This period encompasses the Battle of the Alamo, led by Santa Anna, which took place in the Spring of 1836. “Remember the Alamo” was the battle cry that originated from this time. On April 21st, Texas won the Battle of San Jacinto and gained its independence. April’s Fiesta celebrations commemorate this battle. Poems in this category might use Fiesta or one of these two battles, among other commemorable events, as inspiration or starting point for reflection.

  1. San Antonio: Crossroads City (1846-1946)

After the Alamo, San Antonio became a home for many immigrants, including Germans seeking religious freedom. As revolutionaries fled to San Antonio, the Mexican Revolution began to take form. Up through World War II, San Antonio experienced immense growth in cattle culture, population and educational and civic institutions. Poems in this category might reflect on some of these political and cultural shifts.

  1. Modern Times (1947-2017)

During this period, the Chicano Movimiento was born in Texas. The Mexican American Youth Organization helped to move it forward while figures such as Emma Tenayuca fought for greater equality in the workplace. Poems in this category may focus on a number of different themes, including these cultural movements or others such as the rise of the Spurs basketball team, or the metamorphosis of the city into a contemporary vibrant metro center.

For further questions, contact Alexandra van de Kamp at or Sheila Black at You may also call Gemini Ink at 210.734.9673.

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