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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: