We are thrilled to announce the winner of our 15th Annual Book Prize: this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was & it was all I had, so I drew it by Keegan Lester, selected by Mary Ruefle for publication in Spring 2017.
Of the winning manuscript, Ruefle writes, “Falling in love while losing a loved one and watching the war news on TV? Life is difficult, and the poems in this marvelous collection ask a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human? Each poem supplies part of the answer--to go looking, to make mistakes, to be confused, to be wounded, to keep moving toward a new life. “The expression of our faces when we almost get to where we are going”--that is the expression we have while reading this book, which has the pace of an intense, anticipated journey, one that acknowledges that language is a problem, that art, science, and history are problems, but nonetheless many disparate lives, both past and present, somehow meld into one small life lived, and when that life speaks--“mouth deliver us to the present”--we sit up and listen, for the experience of reading has handed us a strange joy.”
We're so excited to bring this book to you!
Keegan Lester is a poet splitting time between New York City and Morgantown, West Virginia. His work appears or is forthcoming from: The Boston Review, CutBank, The Journal, Sixth Finch, Boaat and The Atlas Review among others and has been featured on NPR, Coldfront and the New School writing blog. He is the co-founder and poetry editor for the journal Souvenir Lit, and is mentoring high school students for The Adroit Summer Mentorship program. He tours solo and sometimes with the New York City Poetry brothel and sometimes with the Travelin' Appalachians Revue. He earned his MFA from Columbia University.
We would also like to congratulate our finalists, listed below in no particular order:
- Coolth by Hajara Quinn
- And And And by C Dylan Bassett
- you were never seen far from your coat by John Duvernoy
- There's Something Happening Outside! by Sara Peck
- small siren by Alexandra Mattaw
- Inlanders by Jesse Lichtenstein
- Futurologist by Doug Paul Case
- Our Pornography & Other Disaster Songs by BJ Soloy
- Out of Nothing, Through A Brightness, Into Nothing by Jonathan Weinert