Friday, April 1, 2016

The 2016 winner of the Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize is out -- Take Wing

The newest winner of our poetry chapbook competition has arrived!

 From the sweetness of picking blackberries while one is dying to witnessing how cancer "hollows bones," the poems in Take Wing speak lyrically of the process of letting go.

Photo by Jules Barivan
When poet David Allen Sullivan first started scribbling down his emotions surrounding the impending loss of his mother-in-law, he didn't know these fragments would become poetry.

"I started writing notes as the events unfolded," Sullivan said. "Sometimes they would be close to poems, and few came out fully formed."

From those notes and pieces came Take Wing, a collection of poetry that was recently named the winner of the 2016 Mary Ballard Poetry Prize.

Rosemary Catacalos, former Poet Laureate of Texas and author of Again for the First Time, judged the contest. "The loss of loved ones is central to our shared humanity," Catacalos said. "With Take Wing, David Allen Sullivan has given us poems that confront death with the mineral strength of a spiritual warrior."

The poems create snapshots of the life of a dying woman as viewed by her family. Danusha Lameris, author of The Moons of August, called the poems "Beacons lighting the liminal space between the body's heat and its inevitable decline."

Sullivan, who teaches at Cabrillo College, said the poetry helped him connect the death of his mother-in-law Mary with his own mortality. "I think every writer -- no matter how far away from the subject matter -- is pulling from their life," he said.

Sullivan said he hopes readers will remember to face grief "head on" after reading the collection. "Return to your own life chastened, renewed, and more committed to live ferociously, hungrily, and without holding back."

Pick up the chapbook at:

Books A Million
Barnes and Noble



Google Play

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