The University of Georgia Press is pleased to announce that Christopher Salerno is the first winner of the Georgia Poetry Prize. In partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia, the University of Georgia Press established the Georgia Poetry Prize in 2015 as a national competition that celebrates excellence in poetry.
Salerno’s collection Sun & Urn will be published by the University of Georgia Press in February 2017. The winner of the annual contest receives a cash award of $1,000, a publication contract with the University of Georgia Press, and invitations to read their work at the three sponsoring institutions: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University. The prize was established through the generous support of the Georgia and Bruce McEver Fund for the Arts and Environment at the University of Georgia Press.
Christopher Salerno is the author of three previous poetry collections, including ATM,
selected by D.A. Powell for the 2014 Georgetown Review Poetry Prize. His second book, Minimum Heroic, was selected for the 2011 Mississippi Review Poetry Award. Other honors include the 2013 Midwest/Laurel Review Prize for his chapbook of poems, Automatic Teller, as well as a 2014 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant. His poetry has been published in various literary journals, including the Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Colorado Review, Guernica, Crazyhorse, Jubilat, and Octopus, and in the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-Day” series. He currently resides in Caldwell, New Jersey, where he serves as associate professor in the creative writing and MFA programs at William Paterson University.
“If a poet ends a poem early in a book with, ‘And always a hellhound be,’ I keep reading. If, several poems later, a speaker is burning his deceased father’s toupee in the yard, I keep reading—harder, closer. Christopher Salerno’s Sun & Urn is a highly accomplished (he has learned his trade!), a madly imaginative, and, ultimately, a brilliant and deeply human book. Read it, please, thrice!” said this year’s judge, Thomas Lux, Bourne Professor of Poetry and Director of Poetry at Tech at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The 2016 runners-up are Ben Purkert for his work, “For the Love of Endings,” and Anne Barngrover for “Brazen Creature.” The finalists in this year’s competition are Brad Modlin of Athens, OH; Kien Lam of Los Angeles, CA; Bill Carty of Seattle, WA; Michael Phillips of Ridgecrest, CA; Terry Ann Thaxton of Winter Springs, FL; Judith Small of Berkley, CA; Raphael Dagold of Salt Lake City, UT; Michael Hurley of Champaign, IL; Kate Bonnici of Los Angeles, CA; Mark Wagenaar of Denton, TX; Joshua Rivkin of Salt Lake City, UT; Megan Snyder-Camp of Seattle, WA; Jim Peterson of Lynchburg, VA; Elizabeth Rogers of Washington, D.C.; David Tucker of Ocean Township, NJ; Ross White of Durham, NC; Keegan Lester of Brooklyn, New York; and Ben Gunsberg of Logan, UT.
“Congratulations to all of this year’s participants, and thank you for creating compelling works of poetry. The University of Georgia Press is thrilled to have Christopher Salerno as the inaugural winner of the Georgia Poetry Prize, ushering in what we hope will be a celebrated tradition among poetry competitions,” said University of Georgia Press Director Lisa Bayer.
Interested parties for next year’s prize may consult the guidelines and submit their manuscripts online through Submittable between October 1 and November 30, 2016.
The Georgia Poetry Prize is supported by the Bruce and Georgia McEver Fund for the Arts and Environment. Support for the McEver Fund comes from Bruce McEver, founder of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC and member of the University of Georgia Press Advisory Council. McEver is on the Board of the Poets House (New York, NY) and a member of the Dean’s Council at the Harvard Divinity School. He has published three books of poetry and is a Professor of Practice at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he is a founding supporter of the Poetry at Tech program.