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Announcing the 2017 Prose and Poetry Contest Winners!

We are thrilled to announce the winners of our 2017 Prose and Poetry Chapbook Contests! We're grateful to have read so many excellent submissions this year, and to have the opportunity to publish work that encourages feminist conversations of many varieties. Congratulations to this year's winners and finalists, and our sincere thanks to all who submitted work. The winning chapbooks will be published in the spring of 2018, and a limited-edition series of miniatures and ephemera curated from the finalists and semi-finalists will be published throughout the year.

Prose Contest

Winner: Hannah Leffingwell, A Thirst for Salt

Runner Up: S. Brook Corfman, The Adversaria: 3 Closet Dramas


Sammie Downing, The Family That Carried Their House on Their Backs

Wendy Oleson, Please Find Us

Lizzi Wolf, Notes from a Good Little Sister: 16 Vignettes


Kate Wyer, Girl, Cow

Catherine Moore, Borrowings of the Shan Van Vocht

Susanne Eules, camera obscura

Judge Bhanu Kapil on A Thirst for Salt:

"The perinatal trauma of the book, the way the first thing that happens in the book is that the doctor wraps the cord twice around the baby's throat: 'I woke up two years later and nothing had changed,' writes the speaker, post-birth, pre-language, "Oblivious. Alive." I was interested in the mixture of things that are felt, entirely so, before they are articulated; the way the writer stays close to sensation, color and touch; stories that are told or unraveled "stitch by stitch." Are these stories dispensable? Will they recur? Love functions as a kind of "salt" in this book of prose that also resembles a kind of poetry. Pour a glass of water over it, and it's gone."

Poetry Contest

Winner: Tim Jones-Yelvington, Colton Behavioral Therapy

Runner-Up: Wendy Chen, They Call Me Madame Butterfly


Yu-Han Chao, Triptychs on a White Belt

Ava C. Cipri, Limbo and the Camaro that Ate Up the Road

Susanne Eules, h:app:yland

Susan Okie, Let You Fly

Simone Person, Smoke-Girl

Jen Rouse, Riding with Anne Sexton

Teresa Stores, Cemetery Walk


James Deitz, Still Seeing a Dead Soldier

Cindy Carlson, Queering

S. Brook Corfman, An Opaque Flower Digging

Clare Paniccia, Rough Hunger

Haley Sledge, Continuous Arousal // Nothing to Hear

Melanie Figg, Once Was

Judge Camille Rankine on Colton Behavioral Therapy:

"Colton Behavioral Therapy adopts the structure of cognitive behavioral therapy to form its poetry. We move through each moment step by step—'Activating Event: Something Happens;' 'Belief: I Tell Myself;' 'Consequence: I Feel Something'—as we unfold and unpack the anxieties of existing within an imperfect body. Actor/model/singer/heartthrob/teen-wolf Colton Hayes stands in as the obscure object of desire, porcelain paragon of masculine beauty against which the speaker measures himself again and again. Within this frame, Tim-Jones Yelvington interrogates the very notion of beauty, its construction within a white supremacist world, and the how the cages our culture has built of it can hold us captive within our own minds. The speaker turns his gaze inward as the poems struggle through shame, fear, and doubt toward a playful and redemptive sense of love."

Judge Camille Rankine on They Call Me Madame Butterfly:

"With sharp, precise language, the poems of Wendy Chen's They Call Me Madame Butterfly chisel their path down the page, calling to us with a song that is both delicate and cutting. The figures of the fictional Madame Butterfly and the famed poet Li Qingzhao are woven throughout this work, as the poet examines the image of the Asian woman that is perpetuated by narratives like that of Puccini’s opera: a docile vessel; an exotic, fragile creature; something silent; something to be kept. Li Qingzhao stands in contrast to this image—a woman who contains complexities, a woman who speaks and whose words have reverberated for centuries. The speaker spins between the two poles these women create, feeling the pull of each, but the poet's eye remains keen as she imagines both women whole, beyond legend or tragedy, and sketches a portrait of who they might have been. Through Chen's words, we are haunted by these voices, and moved to imagine more for each other than the limiting roles so often assigned by the world around us."

Author Bios:

Hannah Leffingwell is a doctoral student at the Institute of French Studies at NYU. Born and raised in Colorado, Hannah studied at Mount Holyoke College before moving to New York City to begin her graduate school career. Her scholarly research focuses on the intellectual history of lesbian feminism in Paris in the 1960s and 70s. Her writing has been published by For Books’ Sake and Public Seminar, and she is co-author of the blog Femme for Femme.

Tim Jones-Yelvington is a Chicago-based writer, multimedia performance artist, and nightlife personality. His multi-genre novel Strike a Prose: Memoirs of a Lit Diva Extraordinaire is forthcoming from co•im•press. He is the author of two short fiction chapbooks: Evan's House and the Other Boys Who Live There (in They Could No Longer Contain Themselves, Rose Metal Press) and Daniel, Damned (Solar Luxuriance Press), and one full-length fiction collection, This is a Dance Movie! (Tiny Hardcore Press). His debut poetry chapbook, Become On Yr Face, was winner of the 2016 DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press chapbook contest. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Puerto Del Sol, Harpur Palate, and others. From 2010-12, he guest edited [PANK]'s annual queer issue.

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