Gazing Grain Press is delighted to announce the results of the 2015 feminist poetry and prose chapbook contests. Judge Natalie Diaz has selected Marisa Crawford as the winner of our 2015 poetry/hybrid contest, and her chapbook Big Brown Bag will be published in September. We’ll have a launch and celebratory reading during Fall for the Book. Judge Amber Sparks has chosen Heidi Czerwiec’s Sweet/Crude as the winner of the 2015 prose/hybrid contest, and her chapbook will be published in spring 2016.
We are also happy to announce that Denise Leto’s manuscript Until the Greed of Pronoun’s Salvage is the poetry contest runner-up, and How to Boil an Egg by Nora Brooks is the prose contest runner-up. We will publish excerpts from both manuscripts as miniatures this year.
Natalie Diaz’s comments on Marisa Crawford’s Big Brown Bag:
“This collection is about obsessions and how we are always building them, surrendering to them, or evading them. In the opening poem we learn that Bloomingdale’s, its “brown bag” held like a bomb, are the objects of the speaker’s side-eye, tell-it-slant gaze: I saw the Bloomingdale’s out of the corner of my eye / & with the way the light was hitting it, it looked like a mirage. / Like a temple… What is really being wrestled with is love, its losses, despair, denial of that despair, learning to love one’s own body and self, and all the ways we trick ourselves into making it through the hours and days and shifts of this grinding blue world. The last couplet of the book: There was that big sign on Route Nine that said, “Free Air.” Somebody told me, memory is a tire. Change it. Go from there.”
Marisa Crawford is the author of the poetry collection The Haunted House (Switchback, 2010), and the chapbook 8th Grade Hippie Chic (Immaculate Disciples, 2013). Her writing has appeared in Bitch, Hyperallergic, The Hairpin, and The &NOW Awards 3: Best Innovative Writing (&NOW, 2015), and is forthcoming in the second edition of Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque, burlesque poetics (Saturnalia, 2016). Marisa is founding editor of the feminist website WEIRD SISTER, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Denise Leto is a poet who explores different forms of media and performance. She was recently awarded the Orlando Prize in Poetry from the A Room of Her Own Foundation and a Fellowship in Poetry by the Breadloaf Residency Program in Sicily. She was an Honorary Fellow and Artist in Residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Denise wrote the book of poems for the collaborative and multigenre feminist performance piece entitled Your Body is Not a Shark with music, sound art, dance and text. Her chapbook with Amber DiPietra, Waveform, was published by Kenning Editions. (Photo credit: Julie Sartwell)
Amber Sparks’ comments on Heidi Czerwiec’s Sweet/Crude:
“This lush, language-driven meditation on the North Dakota oil boom is as perfect a jagged juxtaposition as the title implies. Part history, part geology lesson, part survey, part indictment of corporate greed – it’s also something much more: a song about the stubborn, sorry, beautiful mess we humans have become.”
Heidi Czerwiec is a poet, essayist, translator, and critic who teaches at the University of North Dakota, where she is poetry editor of North Dakota Quarterly. She is the author of two recent collections,Self-Portrait as Bettie Page(2013) and A Is For A-ké, The Chinese Monster (2015), and the editor of North Dakota Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary North Dakota Poets (2015).
Nora Brooks is a writer whose poetry, cultural coverage and fiction has appeared in Redactions, Alimentum, Monkeybicycle, H.O.W. Journal, PopMatters, Poets & Writers online, The Best American Poetry blog and is forthcoming from EOAGH: A Journal of the Arts. A poem from How to Boil an Egg and Other Recipes was chosen by Short anthologist Alan Ziegler for a selection on The Best American Poetry blog. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she was a research assistant for The Best American Poetry series editor David Lehman and a teaching assistant for rock critic Greil Marcus. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a lot of puppets.
We are also pleased to recognize the following outstanding manuscripts:
Repka, Denise Bickford
Notes on the post-body, Sarah Cook
Darling Girl, Amber Edmondson
Medicatrix Naturae, Lizi Gilad
inter:burial places, Billie Tadros
here is how I lived in my body on this day, Aimee Herman