2019 Peach Gold in Poetry

WITH GUEST JUDGE

DOROTHEA LASKY

Dorothea Lasky is the author of six collections of poetry and prose, most recently Milk (2018) and Animal (2019). She lives in New York City.

Winners

GOLD: SARA BESS

SILVER: ANNA GURTON-WACHTER

BRONZE: AEON GINSBERG

Shortlist

AEON GINSBERG

ANNA GURTON-WACHTER

FARGO TBAKHI

KIRAN BATH

PEACH KANDER

SARA BESS

SARAH SGRO

URSULA ROBINSON-SHAW

Longlist

AEON GINSBERG

ANNA GURTON-WACHTER

EMILIE LAFLEUR

FARGO TBAKHI

FAYE CHEVALIER

GALA MUKOMOLOVA

IVA MOORE

KIRAN BATH

NIKOLETTA NOUSIOPOULOS

PEACH KANDER

SARA BESS

SARAH BATES

SARAH SGRO

SEBASTIAN CASTILLO

URSULA ROBINSON-SHAW

ZACH BLACKWOOD

This poem was such a standout from the bunch. I thought to myself while reading it: wow, this poet is an expert! This poem is the winner! There is such elegance here and expertise in terms of pacing, form, imagery, and feeling—all the things you need in a great poem. I loved how the poem started with the clown, coming out of the frame, or more so “wandering” out of it (the careless way it wanders is terrifying) and then by the middle we are all wearing the “red nose from time to time,” i.e., can’t we all be the clown sometimes? Oh yes, I certainly do agree, but to what end? Also, who is this cute boy in the poem? I didn’t really want him to die but I was glad the poem did as it made me feel like I was in the presence of something infinitely strong. Also, poor Corbière publishing only one poem, only a “single” poem (that “single” is so fancy), before he died so young was so sad. This poem made me think of so many things and it did so so utterly gracefully. I love it!

-DOROTHEA LASKY

 

Gold

"ELEGY FOR L'HOMME"

by SARA BESS

Silver

"POEM ABOUT ARCHITECTURES, FACES, AND SOUND"

by ANNA GURTON-WACHTER

This poem is mystical, scary, and funny. It follows along in a glorious winding way where even though the logic is associative, we are still certain that someone knows where we are going and we are simultaneously both safe and not safe. I love poems like this because they show us how memory and emotion affect our experiences more than any other sense of “knowledge.” I love how the poem starts with shit (described so faithfully) and then ends with two lonely people knowingly/unknowingly in love with each other just by being human. Perhaps the beginning and end of the poem start/end in the same space and with the same sentiments, and this poem completes a holy cycle. Whatever it does, this poem is a masterpiece.

-DOROTHEA LASKY

 

Bronze

"INTRAMUSCULAR CYBORG #1"

by AEON GINSBERG

The form of this poem is deceptively cold and clinical, as is the repetition of its binary code. No, this poem instead is about deep and hot feelings and it drew me in quickly with its human emotion. I love the way it discusses gender and hormones in this formal way, with this glorious phrase “The Archive of Gender,” and the way it seemingly attempts to gain control of its language but then you realize at some point that it really doesn’t want to. I also really liked how the poem used the word “tension” in interesting ways, as tension really is something to consider, especially in how it plays out in almost every aspect of life. This poem is truly magical and I wonder a lot about what other poems might surround it in a book. Thank you to the poet of this poem for writing something so exquisite!

-DOROTHEA LASKY