2010 Wabash Prize for Poetry Results!

BY ANTHONY COOK, Editor-in-Chief

After careful consideration, guest judge Jane Hirshfield has selected Nancy K. Pearson’s poem “Selene’s Horse” as the winner of Sycamore Review‘s 2010 Wabash Prize for Poetry. Hirshfield said of Pearson’s poem:

Each of the finalist poems I read had exceptional strengths. “Selene’s Horse” stepped forward for me because of three things. First, there is the clear surety of voice by which the poem unfolds. Second, there is the fearless, tactful intimacy of its seeing. Last, I am entirely taken with the masterful way that a broad range of reference—lawn hose, big rig, Aristotle, billboard, dismantled Greek frieze—is brought to work towards a single end. This poem honors image, intellect, and the full compass of human affection. It rings true in each of its details and larger thoughts and moves seamlessly between them. The final image is a devastating conjunction of present and past, leaving the reader to feel both the grandfather’s still-living existence and the disappearance about to come—a sense of James’s singular personhood that (the marble horse head proves it) is not entirely erasable even by death and time.

The poem will be showcased in Issue 23.1—Winter/Spring 2011, due out in January. Hirshfield also chose Jonathan Rice’s “Water Witching” and Alexander Lumans’ “Looking over His Shoulder, Eadward Muybridge Addresses the Mirror” as first and second runners up, respectively. Those poems, along with finalist Sally Wen Mao’s “Suspension Theory,” will also appear in Issue 23.1. You can find the complete list of finalists below.

We would like to extend our congratulations to all three of the writers selected by this year’s discerning judge!

In addition to the four poems above, Issue 23.1, will feature interviews with Ted Kooser and Annie Proulx, some wild fiction by Edith Pearlman, and a poem by Gregory Sherl featuring Mel Gibson as a thundercloud. Visit our subscription page and order your copy today!

Thank you to all who submitted to the 2010 Wabash Prize for Poetry. We hope that you will consider submitting your work to the 2011 Wabash Prize for Poetry next year.

2010 Wabash Prize for Poetry Results


Nancy K. Pearson, “Selene’s Horse”

Nancy-Pearson1-289x300Nancy K. Pearson’s first book of poems, Two Minutes of Light, won the 2009 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Her book has been selected as a Must-Read from the 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. Pearson has received numerous fellowships and awards including a 2010 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and two seven-month poetry fellowships at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, she now lives on Cape Cod with her partner.

First Runner Up

Jonathan Rice, “Water Witching”

Jonathan-RiceJonathan Rice’s poems have been published in AGNI Online, American Literary Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Notre Dame Review, Passages North, Phoebe, andWitness, among others, and were included in the Best of the Web 2009 and Best New Poets 2008. His work was also selected for the 2010 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review, the 2008Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, the 2008 Milton-Kessler Memorial Prize from Harpur Palate, the 2008 Yellowwood Poetry Prize from Yalobusha Review, the 2006 AWP Intro to Journals Project, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  He received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Western Michigan University, where he is an assistant to the editor at New Issues Press, and an assistant poetry editor for Third Coast.

Second Runner Up

Alexander Lumans, “Looking over His Shoulder, Eadward Mybridge Adresses the Mirror”

Alexander-Lumans1-300x225Alexander Lumans is originally from Aiken, South Carolina. His poems have been published in or are forthcoming from Poet Lore, Southern Humanities Review, South Carolina Review, The Collagist, Redheaded Stepchild, Off Channel, Northern Lights, and the anthologies Poets on the Object and Say It Loud! He graduated from the MFA Fiction Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and currently lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado.


Amanda Auchter, “Night Feeding with Kangaroo Pump, 1985”
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, “at intervals never when the moon is blue I buzz to be trim & trussed”
Rebecca Dunham, “Melancholia as Invasive Species”
Natalie Giarratano, “Asena, the Gray wolf, to Tu Kueh after Many Years”
Emari DiGiorgio, “Animals Among Us”
Therese Halscheid, “The Telling Wind”
Suzanne Heyd, “ICU”
Michael Derrick Hudson, “When It’s That Time for Piranhas”
Sally Wen Mao, “Suspension Theory”
Melanie McCabe, “Beneath the Code”
Sam Ross, “Wake Up, Testarossa”
Maya Jewell Zeller, “Why I Let the Boy From the Football Team Take Off My Bathing Suit Top”