BY MEHDI OKASI, Editor-in-Chief
We here at the journal are most pleased to announce the winner of the 2007 Wabash Prize in Poetry: Ms. Jude Nutter for her poem, “Goats.” Jude Nutter will receive $1000 and publication in the journal.
Eavan Boland, who judged this fall’s contest, wrote the following: “This poem sites human memory in the desolation and indifference of what man does to nature. The speaker remembers seeing goats slaughtered at a gypsy fair in Cyprus when he was a child. His father and he were there together, and the poem weighs memory against reality, his father’s recollection against his own. It is a beautifully drawn, restrained narrative of mutual misunderstanding. The poem’s craft never fails, even with the disclosing and intimate subject of family relations. The language is rigorous, yet exuberant with color and image. The tone is measured and the cadences move perfectly through different swerves of description and rhetoric. The lineation never jars. This poem achieves something striking: in poetry, it is very difficult to move private experience out of private language. But it is done here. The result is that the poem has authority, both as music, voice and memory. And that’s rare.”
Jonathan Rice had an amazing six poems chosen by the editorial staff as semi-finalists from which Eavan Boland chose “Shadowtown” and “After Perseids” as second and third runners up respectively. Ms. Boland wrote of “Shadowtown”: “This ambitious, wrenching and persuasive poem impresses as a narrative of actual loss that turns into a subtle music of memory and self-accusation. Of “After Perseids” Ms. Boland wrote: “his is a restrained, eloquent piece where the speaker makes a context for human loss in natural events. It judges beautifully between tone and voice–never explaining too much or saying too little.”
Amanda Turner was our fourth runner up for her poem, “What We Are Given.” Ms. Boland wrote:”I enjoyed the minimalist haiku-like color of this poem, its thrifty evocation of a world on the edge of winter: the small references offset by the poem’s identity as a snapshot love letter.”
And in fifth place, Ellery Akers for her poem, “Practicing the Truth.” Ms. Boland wrote: “A compressed, charged family history, made vivid and convincing by its eloquence about the body, about the need for the mind to make restitution to the past.”
This was a very succesful contest and we here at the journal couldn’t be more pleased. There were hundreds of excellent poems to choose from and such a job is never easy. Issue 20.1 will be out in late January so look for these poems and many other great works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2008 Wabash Prize in Fiction.