University of Akron Press acquires the poetry collection "Instructions Between Takeoff and Landing"


The University of Akron Press will publish the poetry collection Instructions Between Takeoff and Landing by Charles Jensen as the editor’s choice selection from the 2020 Akron Poetry Prize contest. The competition received a total of 643 submissions this year.

The poems in Instructions Between Takeoff and Landing take place amid myriad journeys: tracking the twin Voyager satellites as they vanish into the unknown, reckoning with a troubled national history, looking back at life lived and forward to the life yet to come. Amid this collection’s formal innovations, poems offer a sustained reading comprehension exam that both encapsulates and interrogates the speaker, the culture, and even the reader. In the context of a nation hinging on the axes of justice, freedom, self-expression, and tragedy, the voices in these poems reflect on how they both shape and are shaped by the invisible forces and inescapable influences that surround us. 

Jensen is the author of the poetry collection Nanopedia and six chapbooks of poems. In 2020 he received the OutWrite Nonfiction Chapbook Award for Cross-Cutting, a diptych of essays hybridizing memoir and film criticism. His first collection, The First Risk, was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs designated him a 2019-2020 Cultural Trailblazer, and he is the recipient of the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, the 2007 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, and an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Field, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner, and he has published essays in 45th Parallel, American Literary Review, The Florida Review, and in anthologies. He founded the online poetry magazine LOCUSPOINT, which explored creative work on a city-by-city basis. He lives in Los Angeles and directs the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.

 Submissions for the 2021 Akron Poetry Prize competition will open on April 15th. Erika Meitner will serve as final judge. Full contest details can be found here.