Doe by Aimée Baker wins 2016 Akron Poetry Prize

Allison Joseph, this year’s judge, has chosen Doe by Aimée Baker of Plattsburgh, New York as the 2016 Akron Poetry Prize winner. The contest received a total of 470 entries in 2016.

About the winning manuscript, Joseph comments:

“My choice for the award is Doe—that book is so good, so well executed with such difficult subject matter. I admire its active courage, its commitment to witnessing what so many reject. It stayed with me through reading all the others—fantastic books, the lot of them. But Doe is a game changer, a silence eliminator.”

Aimée Baker is a multi-genre writer with work appearing in The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Guernica, The Massachusetts Review, and others. In 2014, she was awarded the Zoland Poetry Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. Baker received her MFA from Arizona State University. She currently lives in upstate New York with her husband and daughter and teaches as an adjunct lecturer at SUNY Plattsburgh where she also serves as fiction editor for Saranac Review.

Doe began as Baker’s attempt to understand and process the news coverage of a single unidentified woman whose body was thrown from a car leaving Phoenix, Arizona. It soon grew into a seven-year-long project with the goal to document, mourn, and witness the stories of missing and unidentified women in the United States.

The judge for the 2017 Akron Poetry Prize competition will be Oliver de la Paz. Oliver is the author of four collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, and Post Subject: A Fable. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. Additionally he serves on the Executive Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.

Full guidelines may be found here.

(Note: A total of eighteen finalist manuscripts were sent to the judge, and four of them were withdrawn due to acceptance elsewhere.)
Brazen Creature—Anne Barngrover
Muzzle—Brian Clifton
A Forest Almost—Elizabeth Countryman
Darling Nova—Melissa Cundieff-Pexa
Blam-Blam—Keith Ekiss
The Failure of My Music—Robert Evory
A Small Rising Up in the Lungs—Kit Frick
Girl with Death Mask—Jennifer Givhan
A Ligature for Black Bodies—Denise Miller
The Sun Will Not Go—Maria Nazos
Repeater—Michael Peterson
Virgin—Analicia Sotelo
in my feelins—Cedric Tillman

Chambermaid—Carrie Addington
Midnight Peripatetic—Justin Bigos
Accidental Brutalism—Justin Carter
Festival/Disaster—J.L. Conrad
Hot Cognition—Hilary Dobel
Out of Soft Materials—Laura Eve Engel
Exclusions—Noah Falck
The Ghosts of Monticello: A Recitative—Carmen Gillespie 
Everywhere for the Door—Brent Goodman
Undolled—Tanya Grae
Object—Jennifer Jean
Instructions between Takeoff and Landing—Charles Jensen
A Great Hair Day on the River—Gina Keicher
The Ordinary Dead—Wayne L. Miller
Collective, Unconscious—Brianna Noll
Evensong—Ethel Rackin
Encyclopedia Dystopiapocalyptica—Steven D. Schroeder
No Small Comfort—Brian Simoneau
Astronaut Grove—Hannah Stephenson
The Dream Protects the Dreamer—Ryan Teitman
Rehearsals for Departure—Joshua Young
Quotient—Felicia Zamora