The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund



The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund offers a poetry contest to award prizes to young poets with unusual promise. The first year of this writing contest was 2004. The Fund plans to disburse between $125,000 and $200,000 in "Dorothy Prizes" each year, reserving the right to adjust the size and number of awards to suit the quality and quantity of the submissions in any given year. The Fund also sponsors the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience, and has endowed the Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry at the University of California, Berkeley.



Prizes ranging from $1,000 up to as much as $25,000 will be awarded for the finest lyric poems celebrating the human spirit. To learn more, CLICK HERE.



The Anna Davidson Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience were established in 1987 by Marvin Rosenberg and his sisters, Nedda Fratkin and Violet Ginsburg, in memory of their mother Anna Davidson Rosenberg, with support from other members of the family. Prizes up to $3,000 are awarded annually, and for 2013 the competition will be administered by Poetica Magazine under the sponsorship of Michal Mahgerefteh, poet and editor. To view the guidelines for the 2013 contest, including deadline and list of judges, CLICK HERE.



To learn more about this student prize at the University of California, Berkeley, CLICK HERE.



Dorothy Sargent Fraser and Marvin Rosenberg met and were married while studying the humanities at the University of California, Berkeley during the depression. It was a happy time for them, but there was not much money. Their son, Barr, was born in 1942.


Dorothy's life was rich and varied and she was a sensitive, thoughtful, and intelligent observer. She came from a lineage of religious people who acted on their high principles, and she developed a quality of simple goodness that was evident to all around her. Her poetry expressed the deeper shades of her life experience, and ingeniously expressed the understanding that she had gained.


Dorothy wrote under the name Dorothy Sargent, using her middle name—after her relative John Singer Sargent. Dorothy published poems in prestigious publications, and she was particularly encouraged by Langston Hughes' appreciation and support for her work. She also wrote intimate poems for her family, some never submitted for publication, treasured gifts to Marvin and Barr. Still, for various reasons her career as a writer did not develop as it might have.


After the war, Marvin returned to U.C. for a Ph.D. and became a professor at Berkeley and a renowned Shakespearean scholar. The family remained together in the Bay Area, except for a few travels, until Dorothy's death in 1969. Early in 1969 Marvin and Barr privately published a small selection of Dorothy's poems, and Marvin sponsored poetry prizes in Dorothy's memory first through the Unitarian Universalist Association and later at U.C. Berkeley.


Marvin continued to teach at UC for thirty three more years until his death in 2003. During his long and fruitful life he published highly acclaimed studies of Shakespeare's four great tragedies and a book of collected essays. His last book, The Masks of Anthony and Cleopatra was published posthumously in 2006 and subsequently won the Theatre Library Association's George Freedley Memorial Award for an outstanding contribution to the literature of the theatre. His earlier book, The Masks of Hamlet, won the same award in 1992.


It was Marvin's long-held dream to bequeath his estate as a memorial to Dorothy as a means of giving a financial lift to deserving young poets. He remembered the privations of their early years together, and it greatly pleased him to visualize how these prizes might enable promising young writers to pursue their craft and advance their careers. Barr and Marvin's second wife, Mary, gave their enthusiastic support to his plans; and although Marvin was modest about his financial acumen, his investments grew wonderfully well, and the generous prizes now offered by the Fund are the fruits of his sincere dedication. Late in Marvin's life, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Memorial Fund was formed to accept donations from Marvin and his sisters. After his death, the funding from his estate rounded out his vision and all of the poetry prizes have been united under one roof. Mary and Barr look forward to carrying on the operation of the fund in the spirit of Marvin's wishes.


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