Further Problems with Pleasure by Sandra Simonds wins 2015 Akron Poetry Prize

Carmen Giménez Smith, this year’s judge, has chosen Further Problems with Pleasure by Sandra Simonds of Tallahassee, Florida as the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize winner. The contest winner was selected from a total of 509 entries.

About the winning manuscript, Giménez Smith comments:

“I want you to open your eyes, every fucking night, to this new century,” commands the speaker in Further Problems with Pleasure. If Coleridge, Plath, Ovid, and Celan started a love commune where they built a manifesto Molotov cocktail out of the pastoral, eros, blank verse, and kitsch: it would be this book. A true original, thrilling in her brash complex feminism and virtuosic in sound and line, Simonds writes of the lives and desires trod upon by late capitalism and poetry. A speaker careens from joy to rage, from ired to completely ecstatic describing the complex synergy of love, class, and power. While the poem “Dear Chris,” suggests, “Life is hard. We don’t need art to say so,” the book is beautiful enough that that failure becomes inconsequential.

The judge for the 2016 Akron Poetry Prize will be Allison Joseph. Joseph lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she co-directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. Her books include What Keeps Us Here (winner of the Ampersand Press Women Poets Series Prize and the John C. Zacharis Prize), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon), In Every Seam (Pittsburgh), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon), Worldly Pleasures (winner of the Word Press Poetry Prize) and Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press). Her most recent full-length poetry collection, My Father's Kites, was published in 2010 by Steel Toe Books. Recent published chapbooks include Trace Particles (Backbone Press) and Little Epiphanies (Imaginary Friend Press).

Full guidelines may be found here.

Hand Me Down—Anna Lena Phillips Bell
A World in Which—J.L. Conrad
This History that Just Happened—Hanna Craig
As If I Am Ancient—Stephen Danos
I Write to You from the Sea—Laura Eve Engel
A Small Rising Up in the Lungs—Kit Frick
Triptych—Leslie Harrison
A Great Hair Day on the River—Gina Keicher
The Rose Engine—Cindy King
Inherit—Ginger Ko
More than Mere Light—Jason Koo
Amuse the Darkness—Karissa Morton
After the Wake—Suzanne Roszak
Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee—Dara Lyn Shrager
Expeditions to the Polar Seas—Gale Marie Thompson
A Thousand Horses Out to Sea—Erika T. Wurth
Silence for the Rest of Class—Felicia Zamora

As If Their Bodies Were Wishes—Ruth Awad
Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live—Monica Berlin
Land of Fire—Mario Chard
[Taxonomies / Something Opened]—Samantha Deal
Pink Honey Boiling—Sarah Den Boer
The Long Emergency—Nicole DiCello
The Riots—Leora Fridman
Near Stranger—Jessica Garratt 
Amulet—Stephanie Kartalopoulos
We Didn’t Come to Have a Good Time, We Came to See You—Chrissy Kolaya
Careen—Grace Shuyi Liew
Light Into Bodies—Nancy Chen Long
Marysarias—Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum
Willy Lowman’s Reckless Daughter—Elizabeth Powell
You Are a House, You are a Hammer, You're the Momentum of the Nail—Saara Myrene Raappana
Evening—Ethel Rackin
The Derelict Daughter—Brittney Scott
Mission Boulevard—Martha Silano
A Year of Salt—Colby Cedar Smith
Seeing the Dead—Tony Trigilio
Here Begins the Account of Worms—Angela Voras-Hills
Ask, or, My Avatar—Jasmine Dreame Wagner