Chekwube Danladi Wins 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Chekwube Danladi
Credit: E. Ghanayem

Congratulations to Chekwube Danladi on winning the 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for her book Semiotics. The University of Georgia Press will publish Semiotics in the fall of 2021.

Established in 1999, Cave Canem is a first-book award dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by poets of African descent. The participation of distinguished judges and prominent literary presses has made this prize highly competitive. To see more information about the award and books by previous winners, please visit:

Danladi is a writer and a reformed punk. She has received support from Callaloo, Kimbilio, Hedgebrook, the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, & the Vermont Studio Center. Her chapbook, Take Me Back, appeared as part of the New-Generation African Poets: Nne box set in 2017. She lives in Chicago.

Semiotics is a love letter to language and the body, a record of the erotic charge of both,” said Evie Shockley, the judge for the 2019 prize. “Semiotics is a fire raging through the terrain of the social, burning away the veils that mask power and hide hurt. These poems are restless, mobile, traveling energetically across geographies and forms—from Chicago’s Westside to Accra, from the ghazal to the bop to new structures conjured for the specific truths of a new voice. Let me quote you my favorite lines: turn to page one and read on.”

2019 Honorable Mention includes Nicholas Goodly’s The Dowser.

The submission deadline for the 2020 Cave Canem Poetry Prize is March 9, 2020.

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