THE SEXTON POETRY PRIZE SHORTLIST 2017
The following 16 American poets have been selected by the Eyewear editorial team panel (Todd Swift, Rosanna Hildyard and Alexandra Payne) from over 300 submissions of seriousness and quality submitted for the 2nd annual Sexton Poetry Prize. Last year's winner was selected by celebrated US poet and Poetry magazine editor Don Share, and was American Purgatory, by Rebecca Gayle Howell. It has become a critically-acclaimed indie bestseller.
This year's winner will be selected by the Final Judge, professor Kimiko Hahn, a major American poet, and announced no later than this autumn. The book will be published in spring 2018, and sold in the UK, EU, and North America, and entered for relevant prizes on at least two continents. The winner also receives a generous cash prize of $1,000 USD. This is a transparent shortlist, and none of the 16 poets are closely affiliated with the Final Judge.
This year was if anything even more competitive than last. The panel of judges were able to establish a longlist of around 32 manuscripts (roughly 10% of the overall submission list) that were extraordinarily accomplished, and all worthy of publication. Once we had this list, we had the rather glum task of winnowing down to a final list of no more than 16. We can only say that it was a privilege, and a genuine eye-opener, to have the opportunity to read so many superb American contemporary poets, across all career stages, from young to old, emerging to very established. American poetry is clearly in a new renaissance period.
The poetics at play in these 16 manuscripts are richly varied, and the poets are diverse. We sought gender parity as a given. Generally, at least half the collections are experimental, or avant-garde, and many are concerned with issues that are of vital significance in 2017 - including feminism, ecology, politics, LGBTQ issues, post-colonialism, identity, and concerns for social justice (as well as intersections of these and others) - but never at the expense of a focus on the need to be interested in language as the field of play. In short, these collections represent works of integrity, commitment, intelligence, and often verbal or formal brilliance. Nor is there a marked absence of wit or irony. Eyewear will be pleased and proud to publish any which the judge selects as the winner, as they are all top-notch.
Here is the list of poets (with title of their collection below in the bios) in alphabetic order by first name.
Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers
Jennifer K. Dick
Sue Hyon Bae
We wish all the final shortlisted poets good luck.
Here are their self-submitted biographies, and title of their collection, in caps after:
A. Loudermilk’s publications date back to the 1990s, when Mark Doty introduced him as a new voice in The James White Review. His poems can be found in dozens more reviews, like Tin House, Gargoyle, Smartish Pace, and Mississippi Review, plus his debut book Strange Valentine. His cultural criticism has been featured in the Writer’s Chronicle, PopMatters, the UK-based Polari Magazine, and Journal of International Women’s Studies for which he wrote their most downloaded article “Nina Simone and the Civil Rights Movement”; his website on personality-driven films is called Quirky Cinema. He’s taught creative writing at Maryland Institute College of Arts in Baltimore and Hampshire College in Amherst. His site can be found here. GALL & BULLHORN
A.J. Odasso's poetry has appeared in an eclectic variety of publications, including Sybil's Garage, Mythic Delirium, Midnight Echo, Not One of Us, Dreams & Nightmares, Goblin Fruit, Strange Horizons, Stone Telling, Farrago's Wainscot, Liminality, Battersea Review, Barking Sycamores, and New England Review of Books. Her début collection, Lost Books (Flipped Eye Publishing) was a finalist for the 2011 People's Book Prize. Her second collection with Flipped Eye, The Dishonesty of Dreams, was released in 2014. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Boston University, where she was a 2015-2016 Teaching Fellow, and currently works in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico. She has served in the Poetry Department at Strange Horizons since 2012, where she presently holds the title of Senior Editor. She also serves as Treasurer to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE
Christopher Kondrich is the author of Contrapuntal (Free Verse Editions, 2013). He is the winner of The Iowa Review Award for Poetry (selected by Srikanth Reddy), and The Paris-American Reading Series Prize. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Antioch Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, Third Coast and Web Conjunctions. He is an Associate Editor of 32 Poems, and an instructor for the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Frequency Writers. More information at christopherkondrich.com. VALUING
Dustin Pearson earned his MFA from Arizona State University, where he also served as the editor of Hayden's Ferry Review. He was awarded the 2015 Katharine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets for his poem "The Black Body Auditions for a Play." He is the recipient of fellowships from the Watering Hole, Cave Canem, and the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Born in Charleston, he is from Summerville, SC. MILLENIAL ROOST
Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers’s debut poetry collection, Chord Box (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), was the 2013 Miller Prize finalist and a finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award. Her poems appear in The Missouri Review, Boston Review, FIELD, Washington Square, Guernica, Crazyhorse, and in many other journals; her creative nonfiction appears in Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best American Travel Writing, Prairie Schooner, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She was a 2012-2014 Kenyon Review Fellow. She is the Murphy Visiting Fellow at Hendrix College and a volunteer for the Veterans’ Writing Project. THE TILT TORN AWAY FROM THE SEASONS
Faisal Mohyuddin teaches English at Highland Park High School in suburban Chicago and serves as an educator adviser to Narrative 4, an international not-for-profit dedicated to fostering empathy through the exchange of stories. A graduate of Carleton College, Northwestern University, and Columbia College Chicago, Faisal is a recent U.S.-Senegal fellow in the U.S. State Department's Teachers for Global Classrooms program. His poems have appeared in many publications, including Prairie Schooner, Narrative, RHINO, Crab Orchard Review, Catamaran, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Atlanta Review, the minnesota review, and Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press). New work is forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly and in the anthology Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America (New York Quarterly Books). The recipient of the 2014 Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner and a finalist in Narrative's Eight Annual Poetry Contest in 2016, Faisal lives with his wife and son in Chicago. His site is here. THE DISPLACED CHILDREN OF DISPLACED CHILDREN
Janet Kaplan’s previous full-length poetry collections are The Groundnote (Alice James Books), The Glazier’s Country (Poets Out Loud prizewinner, Fordham University Press) and Dreamlife of a Philanthropist (Ernest Sandeen prizewinner in poetry, U. of Notre Dame Press). Her honors include grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Bronx Council on the Arts, fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ucross Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Cross Currents, Denver Quarterly, Interim, The Paris Review, Pool, Sentence, The Southampton Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Yellow Field, Zarf (Wales) and many others, as well as in such anthologies as An Introduction to the Prose Poem (Firewheel Editions, 2009) and Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James (Alice James Books, 2012). She has served as Poet-in-Residence at Fordham University and is a member of the creative writing faculty at Hofstra University, where she edits the digital literary magazine AMP. ECOTONES
Jennifer K. Dick, (born 1970) is an American poet, translator and educator/scholar born in Minnesota, raised in Iowa and currently living in Mulhouse, France. She has been classified as a post-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E school poet and, by Amy Catanzano, as a U+F+O+L+A+N+G+U+A+G+E poet with a strong background in lyric and narrative tradition. She has taught American Literature, Creative Writing, and English and since 2009 has been a Maître de Conférences at the Université de Haute Alsace in Mulhouse, France. Her doctoral research for her PhD completed under the direction of Jean Bessière at the Université de Paris III: La Sorbonne Nouvelle in 2009 and critical writings on contemporary cross-genre poets and prose authors are in the field of Comparative Literature with an accent on Visual studies, Modernism, Postmodernism and the Avant-garde, including work on Susan Howe, Myung Mi Kim, Anne-Marie Albiach, Claude Royet-Journoud, Lisa Jarnot, and Maurice Roche. Dick also holds a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Colorado State University where she worked with Laura Mullen. THAT WHICH I TOUCH HAS NO NAME
Jenny Browne is the author of three collections of poems, At Once, The Second Reason and Dear Stranger and two chapbooks, Welcome to Freetown and Texas, Being. A former James Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin, she has received the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and two creative writing fellowships from the Texas Writers League. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Oxford American, The New York Times and Tin House. She teaches at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and is the 2017-18 Texas State Poet Laureate. CRASH SURVIVABLE MEMORY UNIT
John James is the author of Chthonic, winner of the 2014 CutBank Chapbook Prize. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, West Branch, Poetry Northwest, Best American Poetry 2017, and elsewhere. He lives in Washington, DC, where he teaches at the Potomac School and directs Georgetown University Summer Programs’ Creative Writing Institute. THE MILK HOURS
Kathleen Winter's second book, I will not kick my friends, won the 2017 Elixir Poetry Prize. Her debut collection, Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, won the 2013 Texas Institute of Letters first book award. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The New Statesman, Yale Review, Prairie Schooner, Cincinnati Review, Poetry London, Tin House, The New Republic and AGNI. She has received fellowships from the Dobie Paisano Ranch, Austin; Dora Maar House, Provence; the James Merrill House; Cill Rialaig Retreat, Ireland; and Vermont Studio Center. She won the 2014 Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award and the 2016 Poetry Society of America Emily Dickinson Award. Winter teaches writing and literature in Northern California. I WANNA DESTROY YOU
Melissa Barrett's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in BOMB, Harvard Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, the Iowa Review, and Best American Poetry. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and works at a middle school. You can find her online here. MOON ON ROAM
Rose Knapp is a poet and producer. She has publications in Lotus-Eater, Bombay Gin, BlazeVOX, Hotel Amerika, Gargoyle, and others. She has a chapbook with Hesterglock Press and a forthcoming collection with Dostoyevsky Wannabe. She lives in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at roseknapp.net METEMPOIESIS
Steve Kronen’s previous collections are Splendor (BOA) and Empirical Evidence, (University of Georgia Press). His work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The American Scholar, AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Little Star, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Slate, The Yale Review, New Statesman, Poetry Daily, and The Threepenny Review. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA program, he has received an NEA, three Florida Individual Artist fellowships, the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, the James Boatwright Poetry Prize from Shenandoah, and fellowships from Bread Loaf, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. He is a librarian in Miami where he lives with his wife, novelist Ivonne Lamazares, and their daughter. His website is www.stevekronen.com HOMAGE TO MISTRESS OPPENHEIMER
Sue Hyon Bae was raised in South Korea, Malaysia and Texas and received an MFA from Arizona State University. Her co-translation of Kim Hyesoon’s A Cup of Red Mirror will be published by Action Books in 2018. She lives in Sacramento. TRUCE COUNTRY
Tim Wood is the author of two books of poems, Otherwise Known as Home (BlazeVOX, 2010) and Notched Sunsets (Atelos, 2016). He is also co-editor of The Hip Hop Reader (Longman, 2008). He was the 2017 winner of SLAB Magazine’s Elizabeth Curry poetry contest, and first runner-up of RHINO Magazine’s 2017 Founder’s Award. His work was also selected by Abiodun Oyewole, an original member of The Last Poets, for inclusion in the anthology Black Lives Have Always Mattered, A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives. His critical work on poetry and poetics can be found at ActionYes.org, Jacket2.org, and floorjournal.com as well as in Convolution and Leviathan; his poetry reviews can be found at the Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, and the Boston Review. A Fulbright scholar at the University of Tübingen in Germany from 2013 to 2014, he is currently a professor of English at SUNY Nassau Community College in Garden City, New York. ANTHOLOGY OF EXISTENCES