We are thrilled to announce the winner of our 16th Annual Book Prize: The Rape Kit by Terri Witek, selected by Dawn Lundy Martin for publication in 2018.
Of the winning manuscript, Martin writes, “Terri Witek’s The Rape Kit is a powerful procedural collection of poems that unearths the obstructionist nature of the bureaucratic apparatuses that proclaim to attend to the trauma of sexual violence. But that’s just the beginning. The range and depth of this book is astonishing in its precision, and in its probing. The Rape Kit manages an unrelenting force of return to languages of steely repression, thereby stealing power from the gaze of the apparatuses and those behind it. It is a miraculous accomplishment. Witek’s collection is rare and necessary and a fire in throat of a culture that has no appropriate language for rape and its aftermath. Her approximation here strokes the aura of a pain that cannot be spoken. It takes multiple approaches—renderings of interior architectures, absences, diagrams, historical overlay, erasures, and language repetition—but in the end, Witek’s The Rape Kit is a grand success, the best we’ll get. Fresh, relevant, and heartbreaking.
The Rape Kit is Terri Witek’s sixth book of poems—her work has been included in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Slate, Hudson Review, and many other journals and anthologies. Her poetry often traces the breakages between words and images: she has collaborated with Brazilian visual artist Cyriaco Lopes (cyriacolopes.com) since 2005. Their works together include gallery shows, video, performance and site-specific projects—these have been featured internationally in New York, Seoul, Miami, Lisbon, and Rio de Janeiro. Collaborations with digital artist Matt Roberts (mattroberts.com) use augmented reality technology for smart phones to poetically map cities and have been featured in Matanza (Colombia), Lisbon, Glasgow, Vancouver, and Miami. With Lopes she team-teaches Poetry in the Expanded Field in Stetson University’s low-residency MFA of the Americas, and she also runs Stetson’s undergraduate creative writing program, where she holds the Sullivan Chair. terriwitek.com
We would also like to congratulate our finalists, listed below in no particular order:
Miracle Marks by Purvi Shah
Echo’s Errand by Keith Jones
What It Doesn’t Have to Do With by Lindsay Bernal
Hard Some by Hailey Higdon
The Feminology of Spirit by Lynarra Featherly
FIDELITORIA: fixed or fluxed by Candice Wuehle
Too Numerous by Kent Shaw
Quite Apart by Krystal Languell
Negotiations by Paul Hlava
After June by Sara Renberg
Solastalgia by JM Miller
A Paper Likeness by Heidi Reszies