Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Announcing the winner of the 2014 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize!

We are pleased to announce the winner of our annual poetry contest: Elaine Mott's Splitting the Velvet Dark.

Elaine Mott left behind a completed, book-length manuscript of poems at her death in 2009. Although she published poems in magazines and anthologies over the years and had won several poetry competitions and been named a poetry fellow at the Breadloaf Writers Conference, her collection was never published. Her son Aaron submitted her work on her behalf.

Our finalist judge was Dorothea Lasky, a professor of poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts, and the author of three full-length collections of poems including Thunderbird, Black Life, and AWE. She is the 2013 Bagley Wright Fellow in Poetry.

Lasky called Mott's work "a gift" and a guide to help us through our days. "I love this book and I love this poet. She is brave and strong and clear-headed."

Lasky said the book is one to carry through life, if one is like Mott's:

heavy and darkly mysterious
fed by the secret river of her dreaming

Splitting the Velvet Dark will be released in print and as a digital edition in April 2014.

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