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Young St. Petersburg poet receives Roy Peter Clark award

Denzel Johnson-Green stands out for his activism in the city’s literary community, Clark says.
St. Petersburg poet Denzel Johnson-Green is the winner of the second annual Roy Peter Clark Literary Prize.
St. Petersburg poet Denzel Johnson-Green is the winner of the second annual Roy Peter Clark Literary Prize. [ Courtesy of Denzel Johnson-Green ]
Published May 10

The second annual Roy Peter Clark Literary Prize will be awarded to St. Petersburg poet and literary activist Denzel Johnson-Green.

The award is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Press and named for longtime St. Petersburg resident, author, columnist and writing coach Roy Peter Clark.

Clark chose Johnson-Green, 25, as this year’s winner in consultation with St. Petersburg Press.

“I run into him everywhere I go,” said Clark. “I see him at the museums, the performance venues, and at the coffee shops. Whenever I see him, he is writing poetry, sharing his poetry, encouraging other poets and writers, or inviting writers — like me — to contribute to his local poetry magazine, Neptune.”

In an email, Johnson-Green wrote, “I’m a normal weirdo with an odd habit of writing. I’m flabbergasted, honored, and a little hungry. Thank you.”

The award will be presented at SunLit After Dark Literary Evening, featuring talks, readings and music, at 6 p.m. Friday (May 12) at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. The event is free.

The event will also honor four finalists for this year’s award: nonfiction and fiction writer Peter Kageyama; third-generation owner of Wilson’s Book World Michelle Jenquin; Pulitzer Prize-winning Tampa Bay Times reporter Leonora LaPeter Anton; and Lakewood High School librarian Heather Robinson.

The first Roy Peter Clark prize was awarded in 2022 to Times book editor Colette Bancroft for her longtime support of local authors.