The Results of the 2019 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize

Tupelo Press Names the 2019 Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize Winner, Runners-Up, Finalists and Semifinalists

North Adams, Mass.Tupelo Press is especially delighted to announce that Timothy Donnelly has selected Diurne by Kristin George Bagdanov of Sacramento, California as winner of the 2019 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize. In addition to publication by Tupelo Press (and the winner’s cash prize), Kristin George Bagdanov will be given a featured reading at the transcendent Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, Connecticut this summer.

Kristin George Bagdanov’s Diurne begins with the proclamation:  “a line each hour of waking / a poem each day of making.”  In the gorgeously lyrical hybrid text that follows, Bagdanov does the nearly impossible—that is, she merges procedural and confessional modes of writing.  The end result is a text as deeply felt as it is restrained, as grounded as it is philosophical in its implications.

Kristin George Bagdanov earned her MFA in poetry from Colorado State University and is currently a PhD candidate in English Literature at U.C. Davis. Her poems have recently appeared in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Puerto Del Sol, and other journals. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Fossils in the Making, is forthcoming from Black Ocean in April 2019. She is the poetry editor of Ruminate Magazine and lives in Sacramento, CA. Find her online at: and @KristinGeorgeB.


Prayers Before the Moon by Marlin Figgins of Clinton Township, Michigan

Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory by Michael Pontacoloni of Hartford, Connecticut


I Almost Was Animal by Laurin Becker Macios of New York, New York

peep by Danielle Blau of Ridgewood, New York

Every Little Iliad by Jean Gallagher of New York, New York

Hijito by Carlos Gómez of Forest Hills, New York

The Clearing by Lisa Hiton of Deerfield, Illinois

Speyer by Lisa Hiton of Deerfield, Illinois & Richie Hofmann of Stanford, California

how to recognize god’s chosen by Jeremy Paden of Lexington, Kentucky

When the Insemination Man Comes to the Farm by Elizabeth A.I. Powell of Underhill, Vermont

Epistolarium by Tina Schumann of Seattle, Washington

Blueprints to Fill an Empty Sky by Dave Seter of Petaluma, California

Rare Earth by Kelsi Vanada of Tucson, Arizona


In the Garden by Ashley Colley of Paris, France

Tips for Observing Mammals in the Wild by Fay Dillof of Berkeley, California

Intake by Sarah Fay of Chicago, Illinois

Dear John by Kathleen Heil of Berlin, Germany

Nocturnes for Nonviolence by Esther Ra of Walla Walla, Washington

My Blood Colored Suit by Matthew Raymond of Aromas, California

Ancient Songs by Stephanie Strickland of New York, New York

It Begins with a Crisis by Sarah Sousa of Ashfield, Massachusetts

Nursewifery by Ruth Williams of Kansas City, Missouri

About the Judge:

Timothy Donnelly’s most recent publications include The Cloud Corporation, winner of the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the chapbook Hymn to Life. His poems have been widely anthologized and translated and have appeared or are forthcoming Harper’s, Harvard Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Conners Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award as well as fellowships and residencies from the New York State Writers Institute, the Lannan Foundation, and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is Director of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn with his family.

We wish to extend our warmest congratulations to Kristin George Bagdanov and, as well, to our superb cast of runners’-up, finalists, and semifinalists. A special and sincere thanks to all who sent us your manuscripts and who, by your writing, join in the tireless, solitary, and so-important work of making poetry. Especial gratitude to Timothy Donnelly for lending so much time and an expert ear to the exacting work of judging this important contest.

So many more manuscripts than we can mention here gave us (literally) countless hours of reading pleasure. Never doubt that your work makes a difference.

Please keep in mind that our 2019 Snowbound Chapbook Award closes at midnight on the 28th of this month: new readers, new judge.