2015 First Book Award winner
Zayne Turner for "Body Burden"
SELECTED BY TRACIE MORRIS
A prize of $1500 and trade book publication for a first,
full-length book of poems to a female writer.
Tracie Morris: "This manuscript is visceral, bold and expansive. The writing and its organization is physically impactful. The range of writings and the seamless ways in which very different types of writing interact with each other unites driven and divergent environments of poetic thought. Body Burden inhabits the body. It's a pleasure to read, see and *feel* with the body."
Zayne Turner upon learning she won: "I'm still pretty much in shock. But, that aside: I am elated & full of gratitude. I'm so grateful that Tracie Morris and the readers from Kore spent time with my work, really saw the work--that feels like the part that really matters. The fact that the 2015 First Book Award also means the privilege of entering the fierce, various & evolving conversations Kore has hosted & amplified for decades is stunning & electrifying. My deepest thanks to the readers, to Kore, Tracie Morris & all the writers who shared their work & keep sharing their work. It's an honor to be in this community."
Many thanks to all the writers who submitted this year, to our judge, Tracie Morris, and to our readers (Meg Day, Sabrina Dalla Valle, Ching-In Chen, Ashaki Jackson, and Rebecca Seiferle) for your time, dedication, and hard work these past few months!
Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, sound poet, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, Ronald Feldman Gallery, The Silent Barn, The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, The Drawing Center, The Gramsci Monument with Thomas Hirshhorn for the DIA Foundation and other galleries and museums. Tracie presents her work extensively as a poet, performer and scholar around the globe and has presented, performed and researched in almost 30 countries and 37 US States. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, has studied classical British acting technique extensively at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. Tracie is Professor and Coordinator of Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
How to Submit Your Manuscript
Note: in 2015 the cash award to the contest winner was increased from $1000 to $1500, plus 20 author copies. The 2015 contest deadline was May 30, 2015. Contest is now closed. This competition is open each year to any female writer
who has not published a full-length collection of poetry. Writers who have had chapbooks
of less than 42 pages printed in editions of no more than 400
copies are eligible.
Comment box should include:
- Daytime and evening telephone numbers
- Where you heard about the contest
Manuscripts must be:
• A minimum of 48 pages and a maximum of 90 pages. no cover letter needed.
• Anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript)
• Original poetry written by applicant (translations are
• $28 reading fee
• Submit online here. More guidelines provided on submissions page.
For more information email us or call 520-327-2127.
We endorse and agree to comply with the following statement released by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses:
CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to:
1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors;
2) provide clear and specific contest guidelines -- defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and
3) make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public.
This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.
2014 First Book Winner
by Monica Ong
Judge: Joy Harjo
Harjo says of Silent Anatomies: "This is one of the most unique poetry collections. It’s a kind of graphic poetry book, but that’s not exactly it either. Poetry unfurls within, outside and through images. The images are stark representations that include bottles that have been excavated from a disappeared age, contemporary ultrasound images of a fetus, family photographs and charts. They establish stark bridges between ancestor and descendant time and presence. This collection is highly experimental and exciting."
Monica Ong is a poet and artist dwelling in experimental spaces. She completed her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in Digital Media, and is also a Kundiman poetry fellow. Her work has been published in Seneca Review, Drunken Boat, Glassworks Magazine, Tidal Basin Review, and others. An exhibiting artist for over a decade, she draws from her professional design practice to innovate on the alchemy of text and image. monicaong.com
Judge: Nikkey Finny
(2012 on hiatus)
Michelle Chan Brown
Judge: Bhanu Kapil
Love and the Eye
Judge: Claudia Rankine
Something in the
Judge: Patricia Smith
Souvenirs of a
Judge: Harryette Mullen
Judge: Sonia Sanchez
The Errant Thread
Various Modes of Departure
Judge: Jane Miller