Announcing the 2022 Free Verse Editions

New Measure Poetry Prize Winners 2021

Aby Kaupang, & there’s still you thrill hour of the world to love 
[Co-Winner, New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Brenda Hillman]

Invoking life’s relentless suffusion of “&,” Thrill Hour forges a conjunctive body in which an inevitable landscape of contemporary crisis, suicide, disability, failed promises & the quotidian accrue. In the Sisyphean challenge of day after day, how does one helm stone? Through the page’s shattered frame, & in formally audacious exchanges, Kaupang risks recombinatory possibilities arising not as recovery, per se, but as endurance, awe, & possibly joy. Inflorescence is cyclic, turns towards fodder, feeds the day, recedes. Aby Kaupang is the author of four books of poems including Radiant Tether & NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified).

Joy Manesiotis, A Short History of Anger
[Co-Winner, New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Brenda Hillman]

A multilayered book and performance, A Short History of Anger speaks through fragments, fractures, song, and the voices of a Greek Chorus. This lament confronts the massacre of Greek citizens in the 1922 Destruction of Smyrna, and the buried traces of this tragedy as they haunt the poet’s family history. Governed by its musical, ritualistic construction, it excavates a legacy of genocide and displacement that resonates through successive generations. Joy Manesiotis is the author of They Sing to Her Bones and Revoke (forthcoming) and has staged A Short History of Anger: A Hybrid Work of Poetry & Theatre in the U.S. and Europe.

Free Verse Editions 2022

Vanessa Couto Johnson, pH of Au

Through chemistry, alchemy, citizenship, and social connections, the speaker of pH of Au navigates location and displacement, physical and otherwise. A Brazilian, a Texan, a granddaughter, a periodically long-distance partner—through her various identities, some properties of gold manifest. Vanessa Couto Johnson is the author of the full-length prose poetry book Pungent dins concentric (Tolsun Books, 2018) and three poetry chapbooks, most recently speech rinse (Slope Editions’ 2016 Chapbook Contest Winner). VCJ has taught at Texas State University since 2014.

Nate Duke, A Suit of Paper Feathers

A Suit of Paper Feathers engages landscape, gender, and time through ecopoetic lyricism and site-specificity. Families create syncopated mythologies from the psychic offal of hyperobjects. Rural voices interrogate issues of work and land-use on the fringes of empire. These poems seek a dynamic affinity between linguistic beings and the fragile biome we inhabit. Nate Duke is a lecturer of English at MSU-Billings

Donna Spruijt-Metz, General Release from the Beginning of the World

In General Release from the Beginning of the World, Spruijt-Metz attempts to reconcile the death of the father, the lies of the mother, a hidden half-sister and the love for a daughter—with the impossible desire to banish the past from the present. She examines shifting relationships with the holy, referred to in the book only as ‘YOU.’ She asks: “Do YOU hear/a whisper/in YOUR//constant night/—and then listen?” She breaks her own heart to touch yours. Donna Spruijt-Metz is a MacDowell Fellow and author of two chapbooks, most recently, And Haunt the World (co-author Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press).

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Photo by Mark Harpur on Unsplash.

AwardsFree verse editionsNew measure poetry prize