ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS of the 2019 Philip Booth Poetry Prize!!!

We are thrilled to announce that Mary Ruefle has chosen This Patch Where the Light Cannot Reach by Cindy Veach and Immunity by Mikko Harvey as the winners of this year’s Philip Booth Poetry Prize. Cindy and Mikko will receive $500 & publication in Salt Hill 43.

Of the winning poems, Ruefle says,

I realized, after the fact of my choosing, that I had chosen a poem in which something gets crushed, and a poem in which something does not get crushed! Either way, there is something inexorable about both these poems, by which I mean the decisions they make seem relentlessly inevitable. Their aesthetics are very different, they were written by two very different people, yet I like to think these poets might get along by virtue of the joy they take in the art. 

"This Patch Where the Light Cannot Reach" lengthens like a shadow, and at its end the "shadow's shadow" is revealed -- that is, revealed to have been in the poem all along (even if denied) and the careful reader is compelled to read the poem again and watch it happen. I also admire the pacing, the syntax, and the general linguistic funnel we find ourselves in. It feels real

"Immunity": who is immune to the charm of this very human voice speaking to us, telling us it is all okay, you did nothing wrong, and even if you did, not to worry, there's a continual loop to all occurrence and things will come round again, even if they are out of our control. In other words, the poem is deeply wise, but its lighthearted voice is anything but censorious; the sheer sequence of it is worthy of our attention.

The finalists were:

The Bomb Shelter, Anna Knowles, The Man You Don’t Understand Sings Himself to Sleep, Claudia Acevedo-Quinones, Hate Mail to the Dead, Nicole Callihan, Dear Son, I’m Sorry for the Fathers I Have Brought You, Krista Cox, Now That I’m Done, Kerrin McCadden, and No Mail on Sundays, Jake Bauer.

We received so many beautiful poems and narrowing them down was tough! Thank you to everyone who trusted us with your submissions. We are grateful for the opportunity to review your work!

Cindy Veach is the author of Gloved Against Blood (CavanKerry Press), named a finalist for the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, Sugar House Review, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Journal, Salamander and elsewhere. Her long poem, Witch Kitsch, was selected by Marilyn Nelson for The New England Poetry Club 2018 Samuel Washington Allen Prize. She is co-poetry editor of The Mom Egg Review.

Mikko Harvey is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi, 2018). His poems appear in places such as Gulf Coast, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, and the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day. He previously served as the McCrindle Foundation Editorial Fellow at Poets & Writers Magazine, and he currently serves as an associate poetry editor for The Fairy Tale Review. He lives in Ithaca, New York.

Mary Ruefle is the author of My Private Property (Wave Books, 2016), Trances of the Blast(Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007); she is also an erasureartist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and published in A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.