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Three Hendrix College Students Honored by Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas

CONWAY, Ark. (May 3, 2021) — Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA) has announced the winners of its 2021 statewide Jeanie Dolan Carter Memorial Collegiate Poetry Contest, and three Hendrix College students are among the honorees: Flannery Hirrel ’22 of Little Rock, Arkansas, Annemarie Bennett ’22 of Hurst, Texas, and Zoie Keys ’24 of Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Because of the pandemic, instead of live readings, the winners shared recordings for the virtual Dr. Lily Peter Spring Celebration, an annual PRA event. The statewide contest has been sponsored annually for the last five years by the recently deceased Mr. Roger Carter of Hot Springs in memorial to his wife, Jeanie. Dr. Emory D. Jones, a PRA member, served as judge. In addition to first, second, and third place recognition, he selected five poems worthy of honorable mention. 

Of the seven students from Hendrix College who submitted entries this year, one placed first, one placed third, and one received third honorable mention. 

“Thank you to the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas for recognizing three promising Hendrix College poets,” said Dr. Erin Hoover, the Murphy Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Hendrix. “In ‘remains,’ Flannery Hirrel’s talents for evoking moments of unexpected beauty are on display, while ‘Some Things Stay’ by Annemarie Bennett compels the reader to take a second look at those places we neglect. Zoie Keys’ ‘Cacophony’ is an imaginative poem about the nature of duality. Our poetry community at Hendrix is thrilled to see the work of these stellar poets applauded.” 

Hirrel, a junior creative writing major at Hendrix, received a $500 First Place award for her poem, “remains.” She began writing poetry in elementary school and quickly developed a love for the craft. Hirrel is no stranger to PRA contests, placing third as a high school freshman and winning First Place when she was a senior in the PRA’s Spring Student Contests for Middle and High School. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my work with more Arkansas poets,” Hirrel says.

Bennett, a junior at Hendrix, received a $200 Third Place award for her poem, “Some Things Stay.” She is the fiction editor for the Hendrix literary magazine, The Aonian, and has always been passionate about writing and literature. In her free time, she enjoys sitting outside in the sun and adding to her collection of house plants. “I am beyond honored and excited to have placed in this contest and have the opportunity to share my poem here,” she says. 

Third Honorable Mention in the competition went to Zoie Keys for “Cacophony.” A computer science major at Hendrix, Keys has dabbled in creative writing since middle school, tying it to her love of video games and their storytelling aspect. She has been involved in numerous STEM organizations and clubs, but has always had a soft spot for writing, even starting her own poetry club at Hendrix. “Poetry for me is a passion that’s just beginning,” she says.

Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas is the oldest non-profit poetry organization in the state, established in 1931 to encourage the art of poetry. Members are from all around the state, including past and present Arkansas Poet Laureates. Poets are encouraged to contact any PRA Branch President and visit a meeting. PRA is affiliated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS). PRA and NFSPS sponsor educational poetry conferences and contests throughout the year for all ages. For more information, see the website listed above and like us on Facebook. Or contact PRA President John McPherson ( or PRA’s Collegiate Contest Chair Karen Moulton (

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit