Chioma Urama Wins 2019 Georgia Poetry Prize

Chioma Urama

The University of Georgia Press is pleased to announce Chioma Urama as winner of the 2019 Georgia Poetry Prize. In partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology 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.

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 excerpts from the work at the two sponsoring institutions. 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. Urama’s collection A Body of Water: Poems will be published by the University of Georgia Press in February 2021.

Chioma Urama’s work has been published in Pleiades, Blackbird, Paper Darts, the Normal School, Southern Humanities Review, and Prairie Schooner. She received the 2015 Fred Shaw Fiction Prize and an honorable mention in the 2017 Lindenwood Review Lyric Essay Contest. Urama is a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship alum and a graduate of the University of Miami MFA program, where she was a Michener Fellow. She teaches creative writing and composition at the University of New Orleans.

This year’s judge, Magdalena Zurawski, says of the collection: “The poems in Chioma Urama’s collection surprise and delight in their style and daring, in their range of modes, sometimes personal, sometimes historical. The strength of the work is the communication that occurs between poems–a constellation slowly emerges where each poem becomes for the reader a different point on a map, a map that marks the distances, the proximities, between historical trauma and its intergenerational effects.”

Zurawski is the author of a poetry collection, Companion Animal (Litmus Press, 2015), and a novel, The Bruise (Fiction Collective, 2008). She is assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Georgia. She holds a BA in comparative literature from Brown University and completed her PhD in American literature at Duke University in 2013.

This year’s finalists are Benjamin Gucciardi, of Berkeley, California; John Martone, of Charleston, Illinois; and Kerry James Evans, of Auburn, Alabama.

Interested parties for next year’s prize may consult the guidelines and submit their manuscripts online through Submittable between October 1 and November 30, 2020.

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