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2023 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Winners

We received 74 total submissions. The first round was read by Joshua Robbins and Darius Stewart. Winners were chosen from a shortlist of amazing work by Marilyn Kallet, Knoxville Poet Laureate from June 27th, 2018-July 2020. For more information about the contest and the judges, visit The Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Submission Page.

Winner

Amanda Chimera, by Mary B Moore

Email: mooremb@marshall.edu

Mary B. Moore’s five poetry books include Dear If, Orison Books 2022; Flicker, Dogfish Head Prize 2016; The Book Of Snow, Cleveland State U Poetry Center 1998; the prize-winning chapbooks are Amanda and the Man Soul 2017, and Eating the Light 2016.


Runner Up

Incidental Pollen, by Ellen-Austin-Li

Email: eva4ab@gmail.com

Ellen Austin-Li’s work appears in ArtemisThimble Literary MagazineThe Maine ReviewSalamanderLily Poetry ReviewRust + Moth, and many other places. Finishing Line Press published her chapbooks—Firefly (2019) & Lockdown: Scenes From Early in the Pandemic (2021).


Honorable Mention

Red Camaro, by Dwaine Rieves

Email: DCRieves@msn.com

Thanks much for reading and considering Red Camaro…very kind…all best.


Previous Winners

a poem is a house, linda ravenswood

a poem is a house pushes against the borders of poetry to emphasize how all borders are a construct: geopolitical, literary, and personal. Each poem in this outstanding collection reinvents itself, employing a range of forms, such as visual poems and broken poetry cycles, to recreate vivid details of the speaker’s experiences as someone who grew up in California with Mexican ancestry. Readers experience a state of bardo,
a sense of existing between states: between different cultures, between safety and violence, and perhaps most of all, between past and present. Like memory itself, these poems thrive on elision, repetition, and reversal. a poem is a house is a dazzling accomplishment that presents a new and unique poetic vision. —Charlotte Pence, final judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, and author of Code


Tasting Flight: Poems by Yiskah Rosenfeld

A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually but searches to
internalize such knowledge. All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flightis a book that sings back to the exploding
stars. —Charlotte Pence, author of Code and judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Prize

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Sticks & Bricks: Stories from the Wrong Side of the Tracks

Cover from The Wrong Side of the Tracks: Stories, formerly known as Sticks and Bricks. Cover shows a girl peering through a chain link fence at boxcars sitting on a siding with graffiti painted on their sides.

So many people have been patiently waiting for news of the selection progress with Sticks & Bricks. At last, the editors, have given us the go-ahead to share a longlist with everyone, with heartfelt apologies because family emergencies intruded, and kept the selection process on hold for too long. We won’t be able to fit all of these into the book, but at least submitters can check this list to see if their submission is still under consideration.

Biographies for the three editors of this anthology, with small thumbnail photos for Luanne Smith, Michael Gills, and T.E. Wilderson

The Longlist (and a name change)

Submitted work for THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS: STORIES

  • Hallmark Town—Linda Heuring
  • A Day In the Life of a Five Year Old Pool Player—Francine Roderiguez
  • Paquete—Dan Timoskevich
  • Backyards—Catherine Alexander
  • All the Lonely People—Alex Stein (lyrics issue)
  • King of the Lake—Christine Rice
  • Dogs Always Bark—Melissa Chordas
  • A White Girl, A Horse, Two Cats and a Dog—Deborah Meltvedt
  • The Lesser Countries—August Tarrier
  • Witnesses—April Asbury
  • Human Statues—Leslie Johnson
  • Settle—Troy Bernardo
  • Diorama—Steve Tem
  • Street Sermon Annie—Vali Hawkins-Mitchell
  • Gonna Like It in the Jailhouse—Polar Levine
  • Whatever Happened to the American Dream—Don Robishaw
  • By the Grace—Gayle Bell (flash fiction)
  • Jets—R. Louis Fox
  • Gina and the Werewolf—Hadley Moore
  • Federico and His Boy—Victoria Ballesteros
  • Canary—Virginia Pina (pen name Watts)
  • Private Duties—Madeleine Mysko
  • The Angel of Lead Belly’s—John Mauk

Solicited Work for THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS: STORIES

  • Hunger—Pirette McKamey
  • Fast Hands, Fast Feet—Maurice Carlos Ruffin
  • Afterglow—Steph Post
  • Some Get-Back—Eric Miles Williamson
  • Leaving Early—Penn Stewart
  • Grit—Jesse Waters
  • Hard Shoes—Steve Gutierrez
  • The Short Story—Steve Gutierrez
  • Palette—Chavisa Woods
  • Kitty Rose—Jana Sasser (J.C. Sasser)
  • Flowchart—Kim Addonizio
  • Christmas Story of the Golden Cockroach—Ana Castillo
  • Old Dogs—Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Amusement—Joe Haske
  • TBD—Elizabeth “e.” Stuelke
  • Tea Training—Zary Fekete (Zaqary)
  • The Bride Beneath my Bed—Lee Zacharias
  • TBD—Chavisa Woods
  • The Main Game—Chris Offutt
  • Barbie-Q—Sandra Cisneros
  • TBD—Manual Munoz
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2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Winners

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

Madville is pleased to announce that linda ravenswood‘s poetry collection, a poem is a house, is the winner of our 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, judged by Charlotte Pence!

Yiskah Rosenfeld was the first runner-up with her collection Tasting Flight.

We received 52 total submissions. The first round was read by Candance Reaves and Catherine Pritchard Childress, and winners were chosen from a shortlist of amazing work by 

a poem is a house

by linda ravenswood

Winner of The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

a poem is a house pushes against the borders of poetry to emphasize how all borders are a construct: geopolitical, literary, and personal. Each poem in this outstanding collection reinvents itself, employing a range of forms, such as visual poems and broken poetry cycles, to recreate vivid details of the speaker’s experiences as someone who grew up in California with Mexican ancestry.

Throughout this book, readers experience a state of bardo, a sense of existing between states: between different cultures, between safety and violence, and perhaps most of all, between past and present. Like memory itself, these poems thrive on elision, repetition, and reversal. Take for example an evocative poem placed early in the book: ‘To live at the scene of an accident.’ The two-line poem simple states: ‘To go on living / at the scene of the crime.’ Such sparsity emphasizes the stark reality of the situation and faces it directly without adorned language that could distract from the fact’s horror. What’s more, the book presents readers with four variations of this poem, emphasizing how trauma is not only situated in the past, but something that interrupts the present—and never leaves the body.

One poem tells readers that ‘this is not really a lullaby for the end of the world this is a map to the beginning of the body.’ Such a statement is not a dichotomy, but simply a reality wherein grief and celebration share spaces. a poem is a house is a dazzling accomplishment that presents a new and unique poetic vision.”

—Charlotte Pence, final judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, and author of Code

linda ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Press. Her previous books include Cantadora — Letters from California, The Stan Poems, Tlacuilx, X LA Poets, and Hymnal.

Tasting Flight

by Yiskah Rosenfeld

Finalist for The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

“A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually, but searches to internalize such knowledge as in this breathtaking poem ‘Bird Call Koan with Glossary’:

Across the hall I lay in the dark contemplating this, the infinitely expanding universe of what I don’t know. Stars exploding and being born. Moons in our own solar system still uncounted. And yet some things I think I know with certainty: I’m not pretty. I don’t deserve to be loved. 

If I trill my mating call, who will answer me? 

I forget the moon is always whole.

These lines are representative of the well-crafted poetry readers will find in this book, each poem creating scenes with such vivid details, readers feel as if they are with the speaker, perhaps as an adult gazing at the stars or as a child hiding behind the Life cereal box.  Not only are the details engaging, but the form of each poem closely aligns with its subject, be it in the form of a question mark or the dwindling lines in ‘Submission Guidelines.’ All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flight is a book that sings back to the exploding stars.

Yiskah Rosenfeld balances solo parenting with freelance teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review, The Bitter Oleander, Lilith Magazine, Rattle, Cottonwood, Full: An Anthology of Moon Poems, and The Ravens Perch.

The longlist included:

     

      • Only the Finest Track Stars Smoke Newports by Susan Leary

    The shortlist included:

       

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      Arthur Smith Poetry Prize – Winners

      The Parting Glass by Lisa Parker

      Winner of The 2021 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
      Look for it September 2022

      Jesse Graves, the judge for the 2021 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, said:

      “… moving and memorable in terms of subject matter… accomplished in form and technique. The individual poems are brilliantly expressed, and they add up to sustained and coherent whole. The poet … captures the experiences living [in Appalachia] and moving away and the feelings about the language, beautifully.”

      Lisa Parker is a native Virginian, a poet, musician, and photographer. Her book, This Gone Place, won the 2010 Appalachian Studies Association Weatherford Award and her work is widely published in literary journals and anthologies. Her photography has been on exhibit in NYC and published in several arts journals and anthologies.

      Splinter by Susan O’Dell Underwood

      Finalist for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
      Look for it May 2023

      Jesse Graves, the judge for the 2021 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize said:

      “These poems are wise and generous throughout, and witty at times to provide a balance to the elegiac tone.”

      Susan O'Dell Underwood is a native of East Tennessee, where she has lived most of her life. She's the director of creative writing at Carson-Newman University. Besides two chapbooks, she has one full-length collection of poetry, The Book of Awe (Iris, 2018). Her novel Genesis Road is forthcoming from Madville Publishing (June 2022). Her poems and fiction are published and forthcoming in a variety of journals and anthologies, including A Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Oxford American, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Still: The Journal.