Fat Jersey Blues by John Repp wins 2013 Akron Poetry Prize

David Kirby, this year’s judge, has chosen Fat Jersey Blues by John Repp of Erie, Pennsylvania as the 2013 Akron Poetry Prize winner. The contest winner was selected from a total of 385 entries. Additionally, series editor Mary Biddinger has chosen Girl-King by Brittany Cavallaro of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as this year’s Editor’s Choice selection. Girl-King will be published by The University of Akron Press in 2015.

About Repp’s work, Kirby comments:

I know I’m holding a good book in my hand when I use the other to call my friends and read poems to them. How generous John Repp is! He zooms in on the moment, but he’s always glancing at everything that surrounds it. His funny poems have dark hearts, just as the sad ones are clearly written by someone capable of belly-shaking laughter. They tell wonderful stories, yet they contain chewy little nuggets that are often indifferent and even hostile to story. I’ve said elsewhere that a poem either writes you a check or sends you a bill, and Fat Jersey Blues writes me checks faster than I can cash them. Oh, and these poems make me do something else that the good ones always do: when I hung up after reading “Bob Johnson” or “The Maltese Falcon” or “Balcony” to a friend, I sat down to write myself.

The judge for the 2014 Akron Poetry Prize will be Maxine Chernoff. Chernoff is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently To Be Read in the Dark (Omnidawn, 2011), Without (Shearsman, 2012) and Here (Counterpath, 2014). Chair of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, she edits the long-running literary journal New American Writing. She has taught for the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the Prague Summer Workshops, and was a Visiting International Scholar at Exeter University (England) in January 2013. Author of six works of fiction, two of which were finalists for the Bay Area Book Award and one a New York Times Notable Book of 1993, she is the recipient of a 2013 NEA Fellowship in Poetry and the 2009 PEN USA Translation Award for her collaborative translation of The Selected Works of Friedrich Hoelderlin.

Full guidelines may be found here.

2013 FINALISTS
Brittany Cavallaro, Girl-King
Stephen Danos, Based on a Book Based on a True Story
Laura Eve Engel, Things that Go
Joanna Fuhrman, The Year of Yellow Butterflies
Michael Loughran, Trouble Everywhere
Kyle McCord, You Are Indeed an Elk, But This is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze
Shane McCrae, The Dead Come Back
Jennifer Moore, The Veronica Maneuver
Matt Morris, Walking in Chicago with a Suitcase in My Hand
Jay Nebel, Neighbors
Nancy K. Pearson, There Now
Meghan Privitello, A New Language for Falling out of Love

2013 SEMIFINALISTS
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, personal science
Karina Borowicz, Horses Midstream
Kimberly Burwick, Almost Any Timber
John Randolph Carter, Bongos Deluxe
J. L. Conrad, Disaster Fruit
Melissa Cundieff-Pexa, Futures with Your Ghost
Lisa Fay Coutley, Errata
Adam Day, Love Letter Penned in a Pissoire
Meryl DePasquale, Shadows Across Skin
John Estes, Stop Motion Still Life
Leora Fridman, The Riots
Stephanie Kartalopoulos, Amulet
Chrissy Kolaya, We Didn’t Come to Have a Good Time, We Came to See You
Matthew Minicucci, Calvary
Sarah Rose Nordgren, Blue Whale
Jason Olsen, Fire Engine Descending a Staircase
Nate Pritts, Defender
Kent Shaw, Gigantic
Gale Marie Thompson, Expeditions to the Polar Seas

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