Announcing the 2023 Free Verse Editions

New Measure Poetry Prize Winners 2022

Molly Spencer, Invitatory [New Measure Prize]

Invitatory hovers in a space between worlds: one disintegrating, the next yet unformed; outside of time, but teeming with the desires time presents. Probing the nature and reliability of language and perception, the contours of loss and suffering, and the complexities of ordinary love, Invitatory insists that we confront, not only the world, but ourselves in it. And, in equal measure, that we abide in the gap where, again and again, we choose whether to turn away or to pledge ourselves to the world-as-it-is, and the world-as-it-might-be, once more. Molly Spencer is a poet, essayist, and critic. Invitatory is her third collection.

Free Verse Editions 2023

Daniel Bourne, translator. Bronislaw Maj, Extinction of the Holy City

Perhaps the most interesting “political poetry” to emerge from the last generation of Polish poets who had to deal with Communism is the work of Bronisław Maj. Maj offers in Extinction of the Holy City a poignant look at the vulnerability of a testament of a city (and world) in peril, “the walls of [a] great icy vacuum / where nothing but the wind / can keep itself alive.” Poet Daniel Bourne, who started translating Maj while on a Fulbright fellowship to Poland in 1985-87, has published three books of his own poetry as well as numerous translations from Polish.

Matthew Cooperman, the atmosphere is not a perfume it is odorless

Bloodied, but still singing, the atmosphere is not a perfume it is odorless addresses America. In one take, a chromapoetics that examines the “red, white and blue’s” dubious semiotics, in another, an extended ode project that conjures our emblems of Empirethe poems in atmosphere––in their configurations of apostrophe, atomization, song, dialectic, eucharism, etc.––attempt to neutralize the personal, cultural and environmental dis-ease of 21st c America. Matthew Cooperman is the author of six books, including NOS (disorder, not otherwise specified), w/Aby Kaupang, (Futurepoem, 2018), and Spool, winner of the New Measure Prize (Free Verse Editions, 2016). More at

Kylan Rice, An Image Not a Book

An Image Not a Book is an attempt to register “the strain / of assembly,” the difficulty of gathering, garlanding, and holding-together while grieving lost companionship. Instead of raging after order, these poems adapt themselves to looser, more tenuous forms of interwovenness. Improvising restless structures that come together, fall apart, then recombine again, An Image Not a Book is an account of relearning how to dwell in this world (the only world there is) in the aftermath of catastrophe. Kylan Rice is also the author of Incryptions (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021)a collection of experimental lyric essays. 

Sasha Steensen, Well

In The Cancer Journals, Audre Lorde reminds us that the body is a barometer, registering the earth’s wounds on a cellular level. The permeable body may be particularly susceptible to toxins, but it is also remarkably receptive to the healing possibilities of interconnectedness. Well, a testament to the experience of living in a female body objectified by the cancer industry, is a hybrid text that seeks to reopen the body, not to further harm, but to transformational healing.  Committed to connectivity, the journal, the diary, the letter and the poem emerge as forms through which the body can both speak its wounds and commit itself to the care of other vulnerable bodies.  Sasha Steensen teaches Creative Writing at Colorado State University, where she serves as a poetry editor for Colorado Review.

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash.

AwardsFree verseFree verse editionsNew measure poetry prize