National Poetry Month may have ended in April, but you can keep the festivities kicking by checking out poetry contest winners published last month.
BOA Editions, LTD published the winner of the James Laughlin Award, Night Angler by Geffrey Davis, and the winner of the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, Documents by Jan-Henry Gray.
The A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize is annually award to honor a poet’s first book. Jan-Henry Gray’s Documents is rooted in the experience of living in America as a queer undocumented Filipino. The poems repurpose the forms and procedures central to an immigrant’s experience: birth certificates, ID cards, letters, and interviews. An excerpt, “Across the Pacific Ocean,” can be found at the publisher’s website.
The James Laughlin Award is presented by the Academy of American Poets, and judges selected Night Angler by Geffrey Davis as the 2018 winner. Night Angler “Reads as an evolving love letter and meditation on what it means to raise an American family.” Readers can find Davis’s second collection at the BOA Editions LTD website.
From Press 53, find the winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry: Bully Love by Patricia Colleen Murphy. The poems in this collection examine the long-term effects of displacement, and how we form relationships with landscapes and lovers. Learn more about what Bully Love has to offer.
Bauhan Publishing released the winner of the 2018 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. The Double Zero by Marilee Richards, according to Judge David Blair, “reminds us of what the country has gained in consciousness and freedom, . . . what sorrows and suicides we have left necessarily behind, as the bus pulls up at the curb in the don’t-you-get-it-yet years we have been motoring through lately.” Find out more here.
Keep your support of poetry going throughout the year, starting with these award winners.
Founded in 1990, the Iowa Poetry Prize is awarded for a book-length collection of poems each year.
This month, the 2018 winner was published: The Year of the Femme by Cassie Donish.
From the publisher’s website: "These are poems that assess and dwell in a sensual, fantastically queer mode. Here is a voice slowed by an erotics suffused with pain, quickened by discovery. In masterful long poems and refracted lyrics, Donish flips the coin of subjectivity; different and potentially dangerous faces are revealed in turn. With lyricism as generous as it is exact, Donish tunes her writing as much to the colors, textures, and rhythms of daily life as to what violates daily life—what changes it from within and without."
Visit the press’s website to order your copy (currently on sale for the frugal reader) and visit the prize page, entries accepted throughout the month of April.
In January, Anhinga Press released the winner of their 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry: Known by Salt by Tina Mozelle Braziel.
The annual prize awards $2000 to the winner, as well as publication and distribution of their winning manuscript. Submissions open in July.
Known by Salt was selected by C.G. Hanzlicek who says the collection: “is very much a book of celebrations. One arc of the book is the move from a life in a trailer park to a house that Tina and her husband build with their own hands, [ . . . ]. It also is a celebration of Alabama, [ . . . ]. Her observations are so keen [ . . . ] that they make me laugh out loud in my own celebration.”
Learn more at the publisher’s website, where you can also find a sample poem from the collection, “House Warming.”
This month, find Luxury, Blue Lace by S. Brook Corfman at Autumn House Press. Winner of the 2018 Rising Writer Contest, judge Richard Siken notes how Corfman “examines the ways that presentation and representation conflate and complicate. Expansive, generous, deeply considered, and highly lyric, this book, with its transformations and overlaps, astounds.”
Learn what others have to say about Luxury, Blue Lace as you pick up a copy at Autumn House Press’s website.
There was a lot going on at the end of 2018, so maybe you missed out on some of the award-winning books published toward the tail end of the year. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.
October saw the publication of Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses by Jen Julian, winner of the 2018 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. Judge Kevin Morgan Watson says the stories “range from straight-ahead fiction to sci-fi or dystopian, all with a strong sense of place with well-developed characters whose challenges draw the reader in.” Order copies and learn more at the Press 53 website.
In November, BkMk Press published Sweet Herbaceous Miracle by Berwyn Moore, winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. Selected by Enid Shomer, Moore’s third collection of poetry arrives “like good news, like spring flowers from the garden,” according to advance praise from George Bilgere. Find out more at the publisher’s website.
BkMk Press also released When We Were Someone Else by Rachel Groves, winner of the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction, selected by Hilma Wolitzer. Quirky characters in unlivable spaces occupy the stories in this collection. On the press’s website, find advance praise and links to reviews to learn more.
Another title out in November: The Good Echo by Shena McAuliffe, winner of the Black Lawrence Press 2017 Big Moose Prize. Readers can find an excerpt of the novel at the publisher’s website when they order their copies.
Wrapping up the month of November is UNMANNED by Jessica Rae Bergamino, winner of the 2017 Noemi Press Poetry Prize (with submissions currently open until May 1). UNMANNED features persona poems from the perspective of two Voyager Space probes as queer femmes exploring space. See what readers thought of the collection as you order your copies.
Pleaides Press annually hosts the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize, the winning writer receiving $3000 with the winning collection published by the press and distributed by Louisiana State University Press. Readers can find the winner of the 2018 prize published last month: dark // thing by Ashley M. Jones.
From the publisher’s website: “dark // thing is a multi-faceted work that explores the darkness/otherness by which the world sees Black people. Ashley M. Jones stares directly into the face of the racism that allows people to be seen as dark things, as objects that can be killed/enslaved/oppressed/devalued.”
Jones challenges form with more experimental pieces worked in throughout the collection, and if readers still want more of Jones's award-winning work after checking out dark // thing, they can find her debut collection Magic City Gospel at Hub City Press which won silver in poetry from the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards.
If you’ve been itching to get your hands on copies of the 2018 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction winner, now you can. Readers may now preorder copies of Jen Julian’s Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses which will ship early October and is available in both paperback and hardcover.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Kevin Morgan Watson says the collection:
held my interest while taking me on a variety of journeys, both real and surreal, from a paleontologist who spontaneously crumbles to dust during a lecture, to siblings dealing with their hoarder-father’s estate. These stories ranged widely in theme and style, and after finishing one story I looked forward to where I would be taken in the next.
While you’re waiting on your signed copy of Earthly Delights and Other Apocalypses, you can stop by TriQuarterly’s website for a taste of Julian’s writing with “Attachment,” published this past July.
Frustrated with the current policital administration? You protest, rally, write letters, get yourself and others ready to vote...what more can you do? For poet and musician Ken Waldman (aka Alaska's Fiddling Poet), there's poetry. Sonnets to be exact, and a lot of them. With two volumes already completed and one more (at least) on the way, Waldman is taking this administration to task - and perhaps salvaging his own sanity as well as that of his readers - responding to the daily fodder by turning it to his muse for poetry.
Like many of us, in a stunned stupor the day after the election, Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Waldman writes that he was "processing Donald Trump's surprise victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and wrote, 'You make George W. seem a statesman--your opening trick,' which I turned into the first line and a half of a sonnet. A week later I wrote two more Donald Trump-inspired sonnets. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, another 68. That's 71 sonnets, a full-length collection. 41 were written in the voice of Donald Trump. The rest were addressed to him." The book's subtitle - The First 50 Days - speaks to the process many of us went through at the start.
Now in our second year of Trump's reign, Waldman continues to see us through with Trump Sonnets Volume 2: 33 Commentaries, 33 Dreams. "Half of this sequel's 66 poems is incisive commentary," writes Waldman,. "Half, dreams that I imagine Donald Trump might have, and those are in Trump's voice."
Both volumes, as well as Waldman's other books, are available through SPD Distribution or directly from Waldman. Visitors to his website can also view YouTube videos of Waldman reading the poems with a little bit of his iconic fiddling style thrown in.
Available this month is the winner of the 2017 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry: Bridled by Amy Meng. Selected by Jaswinder Bolina, Bolina says of his selection:
Bridled is poetry as slow-burn opera. [ . . . ] The poems here offer, in reverse chronology, the story of a crumbling relationship between an unnamed speaker and her nameless ‘lover.’ In this telling, Bridled articulates a politics of self versus other, of body and gender, of loneliness and togetherness. It’s a collection you’re going to want to read from start to finish and then from finish to start.
A Kundiman Fellow and poetry editor at Bodega Magazine, this is Amy Meng’s first collection. Stop by the Pleaides Press website to learn more.
The University of Iowa Press published the winners of the 2017 Iowa Short Fiction Award and the 2017 John Simmons Short Fiction Award last month.
Matthew Lansburgh’s Outside is the Ocean, winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award, was chosen by Andre Dubus III, who calls the linked collection “mesmerizing” as it “explores, among other things, the tenuous tie between mother and son, between the Old World and the New, between what was and what is.”
Winner of the John Simons Short Fiction Award, What Counts as Love by Marian Crotty, is “sensual, brave, and wonderfully evocative” as Crotty examines“the seemingly tattered nature of love, taking us deeply into the varied lives of her characters and making us care for them all.” The nine stories follow people—most often young women—searching for human connection, their stories touching on themes of addiction, class, sexuality, and gender.
Stop by the University of Iowa Press website to learn more about the awards and winning titles.