2020 Peach Gold in Poetry

WITH GUEST JUDGE

ALOK

ALOK is an internationally acclaimed writer and performance artist. They are the author of the poetry book Femme in Public (2017), a meditation on anti-trans harassment, and Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), a clarion call for a new approach to gender in the 21st century. In 2019, they were honored as one of NBC's 30 LGBTQ changemakers and one of Out Magazine's Out100.

Winners

GOLD: KAYLEB RAE CANDRILLI

SILVER: ALICIA MIRELES CHRISTOFF

BRONZE: ALEXIS ACEVES GARCIA

Shortlist

AIDAN ARAGON

ALEXIS ACEVES GARCIA

ALICIA MIRELES CHRISTOFF

ELIZABETH KOLENDA

FELIX LECOCQ

KAYLEB RAE CANDRILLI

KIKI NICOLE

KITCHEN MCKEOWN

Longlist

AIDAN ARAGON

ALEXIS ACEVES GARCIA

ALICIA MIRELES CHRISTOFF

CAROLYN JANECEK

DŽENANA VUCIC

ELIZABETH KOLENDA

FARGO TBAKHI

FELIX LECOCQ

HAJJAR BABAN

KAYLEB RAE CANDRILLI

KIKI NICOLE

KITCHEN MCKEOWN

MATT CONSTANTINO

SELENA COTTE

Gold

"POEM FOR THE START OF A NEW DECADE"

by KAYLEB RAE CANDRILLI

here i am: yet another beautiful, surprised face, recently gutted by this poem. i thought i knew how to write, and then i read this poem. i thought i knew how to love, and then i read this poem. i thought i knew what poetry was, and then this poem it taught me that writing is only part of it, it’s mostly about the living. it’s about being there, saying the words, going through the motions on the surface, all the while writing the poem underneath. this world, it is our field work. in other words: we live so that we can write poems and we write poems so that we can live. my favorite poems, like this one, involve growing a branch, teaching it how to saw, and then chopping yourself down, just so you can show the world your tree rings on the other side. it’s that lethal, and that loving, that tender, and that terrifying. look: i don’t know the answer to the proverbial question about a tree falling alone in a forest. but what i do know is that i heard this poem, loud and clear. and that i will never be the same because of it.

ALOK

Silver

"DESERT CHANGE"

by ALICIA MIRELES CHRISTOFF

"poems like this remind me that this business of being alive is experimental. contradiction is the norm, not the exception. we are marbled and all over the place (yes), but that doesn’t mean we are confused, just that we are infinite. reading DESERT CHANGE is less a diamond glimmering in the sunlight, more… choking on a diamond, learning each facet the hard way. you read it once, then you read it again, and you are reading a different poem. because the objects, the scenes, the images, the feelings, they become different things when you allow them to stop social distancing and hang out together. or rather: we become a different thing once we remember that from most vantage points our organs do not have different names. teeming in this “poem” are so many micro poems. they insist on having their own part, like a rogue choir. and if you let them, at least for a second, you begin to look at the room around you, the world around you, with a different prescription. almost as if entropy, it is everything. poems like this teach us how to perceive the world anew."

—ALOK

Bronze

"ODE TO TRANS BOXING CLASS"

by ALEXIS ACEVES GARCIA

"sometimes the most devastating poems are the most beautiful poems. it’s not so much that the pain, it is beautiful, but rather that there is beauty in finally being able to name the pain.. poetry finally being that space where we can name inconvenient truths, dismember all the noise that goes into pretending to be able. ODE TO TRANS BOXING CLASS is so beautiful it hurts. it hurts because of what it says (and what it does not say): how when you live in a body already marked for violence, where there is no outside of it, sometimes relief comes from being able to choose your own poison. the poem asks us: 'in a world that dispossess us of so much, can we not at least maintain choice?' this is why i chose this poem: because it makes me uncomfortable, because its honesty burns like a ginger shot, because it captures so effortlessly how desperate we are (and perhaps how dexterous we become) in finding a way—any way—to make it work. to make us work."

—ALOK

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