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Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry Winner

Poetry Contest Judge, Trace Peterson
Poetry Contest Judge Trace Peterson

Congratulations to Linette Marie Allen whose poem “ZOOM” has won the 2020-2021 Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry. This year’s judge was Trace Peterson. 

About the winning poem, Peterson said: 

“Linette Marie Allen’s ‘ZOOM’ shows us what poetry at its most vital can do. Its timely subject matter and taut lines lay out a background location in gradual gestures that simultaneously establish an evocative, charged narrative. Artificial and real are blurred through the conflation of this almost collaged background setting with the words and space of the poem itself as it unfolds. Around the turn in the 9th line, the voice setting the scene turns dialogic, and interrupting utterances democratize the conversation, challenging an authority figure with a series of incredulous, exasperated questions which seem to come alternately from the addressee, from a person being taught in a class, or perhaps even from someone who is scarred by violence. The poem ends in an urgent yet open ended way, interrupting itself twice to conclude with a confrontational question which feels like a kind of dare.” 

Congratulations as well to our Finalists, listed alphabetically below:

“You Leap,” by Karen Beninato 

“instructions ghazal,” by Tyler Dettloff  

“nub,” by Tarik Dobbs  

“Confrontation Practice,” by Alexis Jackson 

“Commiserate with Experience,” by Michael Lambert 

See all past winners here

See our interview with Trace Peterson here

James Knudsen Prize for Fiction Winner

Congratulations to Khanh Ha, whose story, “Night, This River” has won the 2020-2021 James Knudsen Prize for Fiction. This year’s judge was Stephanie Soileau.

About the winning story, Soileau said:

“The clear first-place winner is the gorgeously titled ‘Night, This River,’ for its finely shaded characters, subtle and surprising relationships, and astonishing facility with the language and details of work on a fishing boat in Southeast Asia. This was so expertly done. One of those stories that evokes both admiration and a little envy.”  

Congratulations as well to our Finalists:

Lara Jacobs for “Pitchers of Milk, Now Empty”

Elizabeth Shultz for “Good Fences, Good Neighbors”

See all past winners here.

Fiction Contest Judge Stephanie Soileau