We are thrilled to announce that the winners of the 2016 Poetry/Hybrid and Prose/Hybrid Chapbook Contests are in! We're very grateful to have read so many wonderful submissions this year, and to have the opportunity to publish work that continues encouraging feminist conversations of many sorts.
This year, Gazing Grain Press will publish the winners of our prose and poetry chapbook contests, as well as the runner-up manuscript from our prose contest. Congratulations to this year's winners, and our sincere thanks to all who submitted work.
Winner: Nora Boydston, A Woman Alone
Runner-Up: Linda Chavers, (This Fucking Body is) Never Yours
Faith Holsaert, Home
Kailyn McCord, Annii: A Portrait
Alina Stefanescu, Coliva
Talia Weisz, Sisters in Another Life
Judge Lily Hoang on A Woman Alone:
Nora Boydston’s A Woman Alone is fancy: it is full of capricious embellishments, and the result is shrewd. “It’s terrible,” writes Boydston. “I went to the museum and nobody wanted to fuck.” Her simple sentences deceive casuality. They’re savage. A Woman Alone takes a hammer to the glass ceiling of form and then starts eating.
Judge Lily Hoang on (This Fucking Body is) Never Yours:
Linda Chavers’s (This Fucking Body is) Never Yours is a violation of the body on the skin of the sentence. It collapses relentless trauma into empowerment—because there is no hiding, only the revelation that anger can rush like lava and quicken into someone splendid.
Winner: Brianna Low, Drift
Kelly Lorraine Andrews, The Fear Archives
Lizi Gilad, Our Dark Mouths
Kristi Carter, Daughter Shaman
Letisia Cruz, Chonga Nation
Christy Davids, some insects have evolved
Celeste Doaks, American Herstory
Melanie Figg, Once Was
Sarah Heady, Corduroy Road
Caolan Madden, Vast Necrohol
Mary Maroste, Blueprint for a Home Without Tampons
Meredith McDonogh, The Prophetic Western
Georgia Pearle, Refinery
April Peletta, Bone Cradle Christine Scanlon, Nostalgia, A Collection of Instructional Films
Alina Stefanescu, Words for Mornings After
Molly Thornton, Daisy Chains
Marlys West, Equal Parts Love and Shouting
Judge Rachel Eliza Griffiths on Low:
Brianna Low's Drift is a lucid and searing exploration of the female body, pinned against the feral blood of language and myth. Consider this exquisite meditation: "After I read this I look into the mirror/and wonder where the light goes,/if the darkness pouring into the world/is because of the blood seeping out./ The poems you find in Drift never look away from the darkening eye of the heart that insists, even in its approaching blindness, upon transformation. Low's voice is wrenching and honest, drawing us into a psychological landscape that treads the difficult, unsettled map of desire and injury in the name of what is both sacred and mortal. Low brings a startling and original perspective to feminine figures such as Laura Ingalls and Joan of Arc. The writing is incandescent and brutal as it bears witness to the ecstatic and bleak hunt of spirituality and faith. Hunger and surrender expand through the eyes of Low's vision. We are asked to gaze within at our own fears and desires. Low fearlessly demands, " "Who am I to say this is not about love?/The way it guts you."
Nora Boydston is a writer, editor, and teacher. She earned her MFA in Fiction from the New School. Her essays and book reviews have been published in The Curator Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and The Collagist.
Linda Chavers is a writer from Washington, DC. By day she teaches awesome books in Temple University's Intellectual Heritage and English Departments. By night she writes on girlhood, blackness and disability. Currently, her favorite living author is Marlon James. Learn more at www.lindachaversphd.com. Follow her @dorismariahphd.
Brianna Low was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She received her MFA from Indiana University. More of her writing can be found at briannalow.com.