Archive April 2019

Dante Micheaux Wins Four Quartets Prize

At a ceremony in New York City this afternoon, Dante Micheaux was named the winner of the second annual Four Quartets Prize. Micheaux, who won for his book-length poem, Circus (Indolent Books), will receive $20,000. The annual award is given for a unified and complete sequence of poems published during the previous year. Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Rosanna Warren judged.

“How right that this poet’s first name should be Dante,” wrote the judges in their citation. “For his Circus is a Comedy: a savage comedy, lacerating dialects, fingering wounds, looking for loves right and wrong in the crevices of history and of humiliated bodies. And yet, and yet. His language exults, triumphs, and freely rummages in the treasuries of the Bible, Baudelaire, Whitman, Eliot, Baraka, and Mahalia Jackson, taking what it needs, making it his sovereign own, a wrested blessing.”

Upon accepting the award, Micheaux thanked his grandmother, saying she “put the pen in my hand, put my hand in her hand, and taught me how to write.” Micheaux also thanked Michael Broder, his publisher at Indolent Books, a small press based in Brooklyn devoted to poetry that is “innovative, provocative, risky, and relevant.” Micheaux is the author of one previous collection, Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010), and has published poems in the American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poetry, PN Review, and Tongue, among others.

The finalists for the prize were Catherine Barnett for her poem sequence “Accursed Questions” from Human Hours (Graywolf Press) and Meredith Stricker for her chapbook anemochore (Newfound Press).

The Poetry Society of America and the T. S. Eliot Foundation established the Four Quartets Prize two years ago to celebrate the poetic sequence and honor T. S. Eliot’s legacy. Danez Smith won the inaugural prize for their lyric sequence “summer, somewhere” from Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press).

Submissions Open for the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize for an unpublished novella. The winner will receive $6,000 and publication by Melville House; two runners-up will each receive $3,000. The winner and runners-up will each receive travel and lodging expenses to read and participate at the Miami Book Fair in 2020.

Writers who have not published a book of fiction are eligible. Using Submittable, submit a manuscript of 17,000 to 40,000 words by May 10. The entry fee is $50 until April 30 and $70 thereafter. Visit the prize’s Terms & Conditions page for complete guidelines.

Justin Torres will judge this year’s competition. Torres is an assistant professor of English at the University of California in Los Angeles and author of the novel We the Animals. The winner will be announced on or before November 1.

Marci Vogel won the 2017 award for her novella, Death & Other Holidays. Jim Shepard judged.

Photo: Miami Book Fair

April 30 Contest Roundup for Poets

Poets! Consider submitting your manuscripts and poems to the following contests, all with a deadline of April 30. Each contest offers publication or a prize of at least $1,000:

Ashland Poetry Press Richard Snyder Publication Prize: A prize of $1,000, publication by Ashland Poetry Press, and 50 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $27.

Beloit Poetry Journal Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Beloit Poetry Journal is given annually for a single poem. Patricia Smith will judge. Entry fee: $15.

Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Finishing Line Press is given annually for a poetry chapbook by a woman who has not yet published a full-length collection. Leah Maines will judge. Entry fee: $16.

Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication by Marsh Hawk Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Marge Piercy will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Mudfish Poetry Prize: A prize of $1,200 and publication in Mudfish is given annually for a single poem. John Yau will judge. Entry fee: $20.

Poetry Foundation Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Five fellowships of $25,800 each are given annually to U.S. poets between the ages of 21 and 31. Entry fee: None.

Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award: A prize of $1,000, publication by Trio House Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection. The winner is also asked to serve as a part-time volunteer for Trio House Press for two years after publication. Sandy Longhorn will judge Entry fee: $25.

Trio House Press Trio Award for First or Second Book: A prize of $1,000, publication by Trio House Press, and 20 author copies is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. The winner is also asked to serve as a part-time volunteer for Trio House Press for two years after publication. Malena Mörling will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by Tupelo Press is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Entry fee: $30.

University of Iowa Press Iowa Poetry Prize: Publication by University of Iowa Press is given annually for a poetry collection. Entry fee: $20.

University of Pittsburgh Press Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize: A prize of $5,000 and publication by University of Pittsburgh Press is given annually for a debut poetry collection. Ed Ochester will judge. Entry fee: $25.

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines, and check out the Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more contests in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

Powers, Gander Win 2019 Pulitzer Prizes

This afternoon the winners of the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes were announced at Columbia University in New York City. The annual $15,000 prizes are given for works of journalism and literature published during the previous year. First awarded in 1917, the Pulitzer Prizes are considered among the most prestigious prizes in American letters.

The award in fiction went to Richard Powers for his novel The Overstory (Norton). The finalists were Rebecca Makkai for The Great Believers (Viking) and Tommy Orange for There There (Knopf).

Forrest Gander won the award in poetry for Be With (New Directions). The finalists were Jos Charles for feeld (Milkweed Editions) and A. E. Stallings for Like (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Jeffrey C. Stewart won the award in biography for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press). The finalists were Max Boot for The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam (Norton) and Caroline Weber for Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris (Knopf).

The nonfiction award went to Eliza Griswold for Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The finalists were Elizabeth Rush for Rising: Dispatches From the New American Shore (Milkweed Editions) and Bernice Yeung for In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers (New Press).

David W. Blight won the award in history of the United States for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster). The finalists were W. Fitzhugh Brundage for Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition (Belknap) and Victoria Johnson for American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic (Norton).

Each year the Pulitzer Prizes receive nearly 1,400 submissions for its five book categories. The 2018 winners included poet Frank Bidart, fiction writer Andrew Sean Greer, and nonfiction writer Caroline Fraser.

Read more about Powers’s winning book in “A Talk in the Woods: Barbara Kingsolver and Richard Powers” from the November/December 2018 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Photo: Richard Powers

BOMB’s Biennial Fiction Contest Open for Submissions

Submissions are currently open for BOMB’s Biennial Fiction Contest. The contest winner will receive $1,000 and publication in BOMB’s literary supplement, First Proof. Artist and writer Renee Gladman will judge.

Using the online submission system, submit a story of up to 5,000 words with a $20 entry fee, which includes a yearlong subscription to the magazine. The deadline is May 5. The winner will be announced on July 31, 2019. 

In 2017, Kristen Gleason’s “Mumbai” was chosen as the winning entry by Paul La Farge. Previous winners include Jen GeorgeMichael Baptist, and Karen Walker Thompson

Established in 1981 as a quarterly magazine of conversations and interviews between artists, BOMB is now a “multi-media publishing house that creates, disseminates, and preserves artist-generated content from interviews to artists’ essays to new literature.”

Deadline Approaches for Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize

Submissions are currently open for the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize Contest. The annual contest awards $1,000 and publication in the journal to a single poem. The winning poet will also be invited to read at the annual Lucia Getsi Reading Series held in Bloomington, Illinois. Two runners-up will also each receive $100.

Using the online submission system, submit up to three previously unpublished poems totaling no more than 10 pages with a $20 entry fee, which includes a yearlong subscription to the review. The deadline is April 15. All entries will be considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The judge, who will write an introduction to the winning poem, will be announced after the winner is selected. Recent judges include G. C. Waldrep, Rachel Zucker, Joshua Corey, Juliana Spahr, David Baker, and C. S. Giscombe. Last year, Li-Young Lee selected Mark Svenvold’s poem “Immigration Algorithm (Application Form D (3) b (1) a)” as the winning entry.

Founded in 1976, Spoon River Poetry Review is housed at Illinois State University and celebrates “a poetics of emplacement: writing that reveals the borders of our comfort zones as sites of connection rather than irreconcilable difference.” Kirstin Hotelling Zona has been editor since 2010.

T. S. Eliot Four Quartets Prize Finalists Announced

Catherine Barnett, Dante Micheaux, and Meredith Stricker have been chosen as the finalists for the 2019 Four Quartets Prize. The annual $20,000 prize, sponsored by the T. S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, is given for a “unified and complete sequence of poems” published in the United States in 2018. The winner will be named at a ceremony in New York City on April 30.

Poets Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Rosanna Warren judged. “The three finalists for the 2019 Four Quartets Prize represent how the long poem continues to delight, attract, and sustain readers and fellow poets alike into the twenty-first century,” says Phillips. “These poems are daring, expertly crafted, alluring, and infused with a sense of poetic purpose. They rose to the top of an incredibly competitive field of submissions.”

Barnett is nominated for her sequence “Accursed Questions” from her collection Human Hours (Graywolf Press); Micheaux is nominated for his book Circus (Indolent Books); and Stricker is nominated for her chapbook anemochore (Newfound Press). “That the finalist list comprises three different modes of the long poem—the book-length poem, the extended lyric passage, and the chapbook—speaks to the vital diversity of the form,” says Phillips, “for they suggest, rather emphatically, that the American long poem sequence is in good health and in good hands today and going forward into the future.”

Alice Quinn, the executive director of the Poetry Society of America, agrees. “The recent proliferation of chapbook publication in America and of journal publication of sequences of poems has fostered an extraordinary climate for this prize, which is becoming a beacon, holding out hope of significant recognition and reward for achievement in this area of poetic endeavor.”

The London-based T. S. Eliot Foundation and the New York City–based Poetry Society of America established the prize last year on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the publication of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets in America. Clare Reihill, the director of the T. S. Eliot Foundation, says the two organizations launched the award because she “sensed T. S. Eliot’s presence in the land of his birth and early life had somewhat fallen away.” Born in Saint Louis, Eliot spent the majority of his life in the England, where he wrote two of the most important long poems of the twentieth century, The Waste Land and Four Quartets.

Danez Smith won the inaugural prize for their lyric sequence “summer, somewhere” from Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press). 

Photos (left to right): Catherine Barnett, Dante Micheaux, Meredith Stricker