Announcing Our Poetry Contest Winner

Congratulations to Mara Adamitz Scrupe, whose poem, “Praying Mantis,” has won the 2017 Kay Murphy Prize for Poetry. 

Murphy, Kay 300x300

Kay Murphy, Contest Judge

This year’s judge was Kay Murphy, who is the author of two collections of poetry, The Autopsy, and Belief Blues. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry, and College English, and her fiction has been published in Ascent and Fiction International.

About the winning poem, Murphy said:

“Mara Adamitz Scrupe’s ‘Praying Mantis’ is a beautiful and complex example of the various techniques available to us in creating a human-centered poem. My auditory sense is congratulations immediately seduced by the moderated alliteration and assonance. The title, followed by annus horibilis cut away in parentheses as if the Latin were the taxonomic category of the insect, introduces the subject of anguish. The plague, whatever it is, affects the speaker personally: it is horrible, it lasts for a year, and the mantis is praying for, not inflicting injury upon, the speaker. Through the artful rendering of suffering, my empathy and compassion are awakened.”

Congratulations as well to the finalists, Benjamin Garcia for “Birds of the Illegal Trade,” and Rosa Lane for “The Long Meadow.”

Interview with Clint Smith

Clint Smith 300x300

Clint Smith

“The fact that people think there is a material difference [between publishing in a peer-reviewed academic journal and performing a poem at an open mic] reflects deeply internalized assumptions about what constitutes a legitimate intellectual production, which is often laden with racism and classism. In much of my work, whether as a poet or a scholar, I’m tackling some of the same questions, simply in different ways.”


Read the full interview here.

Literary New Orleans: April Events


Sloane Crosley at Garden District Book Shop

Sunday the 1st

Poetry Night, Maple Leaf Bar, 3 PM

Tuesday the 3rd

C.S. Harris discusses and signs her book, Why Kill the Innocent, Garden District Book Shop, 6-7:30 PM

Rachel Bruenlin discusses and signs her book, Fire in the Hole: The Spirit Work of Fi Yi Yi and the Mandingo Warriors, Octavia Books, 6 PM


See all events here.