Announcing the 2024 Free Verse Editions

New Measure Poetry Prize Winner 2023

Lily Brown, Blade Work [Winner, New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Carl Phillips]

The “semi-automatic sun” of Blade Work’s title poem evokes the layers of everyday violence with which we live. Yet the poems also find wonder in daily life, the imagination, the mind’s terrifying and surprising creations. How do we make sense of our world? This book suggests we attend to its details and its dramas and that we engage with it imaginatively, psychologically, and linguistically to create something new and beautiful, “to dislodge stone habit.” Lily Brown is the author of Rust or Go Missing (Cleveland State University Poetry Center); she lives in Maine with her family and works as a writing teacher.

Free Verse Editions 2024

Chengru He, M O N

What is the English moon or the Chinese ? Who am “I” when “I” look at English letters and Chinese characters? Does language offer wonders as nature does? M O N curates a space of languages and memories, a poet’s transcultural meditation and invention. The poems invite us to personal and poetic memories, from pandemic letters to grandma to conversations with Li Bai and Wang Wei –– a remake-it-new m-o--n. Chengru He is the author of a hybrid memoir I Would Vanish into Its Stronger Existence (Wet Cement Press, forthcoming 2024) and the translator of two books in Chinese.

Elizabeth Jacobson, There Are as Many Songs in the World as Branches of Coral

As the title intimates, many distinct voices sing in this new collection by Elizabeth Jacobson, often expressing the complicated, rapidly fluctuating truths of our heating planet, family function and dysfunction, and the surprising reflections that emerge from a continuous practice of paying attention to the self, society and the greater wild world. Elizabeth is the author of two other full-length collections including Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air, winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize selected by Marianne Boruch, and the 2019 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for both New Mexico Poetry and Best New Mexico Book.

L. S. Klatt, Saint with a Peacock Voice

Inspired by Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, the poems in Saint with a Peacock Voice improvise a makeshift liturgy of dreams. Part lovesick lyric, part American hymnbook, Saint is composed of 100% recycled material culled from O’Connor’s collected prose. Each poem harvests language from a particular story, essay, or letter, and recasts a subset of these words (unaltered for tense, number, or grammar) into God-hungry couplets that “thunder with unveiled mind” and riot for “a deeper pretending.” A former winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Iowa Poetry Prize, L. S. Klatt is the author of five volumes of poems.

Download a printable press release (PDF).

Photo by Christine Mendoza on Unsplash.

AwardsFree verseFree verse editionsNew measure poetry prize