Dr. Chris Ellery, a professor of English in Angelo State University’s Department of English and Modern Languages, has won first prize in the second annual Alexander and Dora Raynes Poetry Competition administered by Jewish Currents magazine.
Ellery’s poem, “Shekinah,” was selected the best out of more than 700 poems submitted to the national contest, which was judged by poet and playwright Joan Larkin.  The poem is about the friendship of two boys, Arab and Jew, in Bethlehem just before the partition of Palestine.

“The poem explores family and brotherhood simply and beautifully,” Larkin said.

The works of Ellery and the rest of the 40 finalists in the competition will be included in a new poetry collection to be published in May by Blue Thread, the book imprint of Jewish Currents.

Ellery is the author of three collections of poems, including most recently The Big Mosque of Mercy, which was based on his experiences in the Middle East.  Ellery was a Fulbright professor at the University of Aleppo in Syria.  A member of the Texas Institute of Letters, he holds a doctorate from Texas A&M University.  He teaches poetry writing and film criticism at ASU.

The Alexander and Dora Raynes Poetry Competition was established by Helen and Henry Staley, retired academics in Albany, N.Y., in tribute to Helen Staley’s parents.

For more information and a link to Ellery’s poem, go online to www.angelo.edu/content/news/6242-ellery-wins-raynes-poetry-competition.