Tupelo Press Announces the Results of the 2019 Dorset Prize

Tupelo Press is delighted to announce that Afterfeast by Lisa Hiton of Deerfield, Illinois, has been selected by Mary Jo Bang to win the 2019 Tupelo Press Dorset Prize. Hiton receives a $3,000 cash prize, a writing residency, publication by Tupelo Press, and national distribution.

Lisa Hiton’s poems have appeared in Lambda Literary MagazineNew South, LinebreakHayden’s Ferry Review, and The Paris-American among others. Author of the chapbook Variation on Testimony (CutBank Literary), she serves as Interviews Editor of Cosmonauts Avenue and as Senior Poetry Editor of The Adroit Journal. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Boston University, an M.Ed. in Arts in Education from Harvard University, and a B.S. in Film from Boston University. Afterfeast is Lisa Hiton’s first full-length book of poetry.

Judge’s Citation:

These brilliant poems are covertly grounded in metaphysical questions, such as: Where is the line between one’s ever-evolving consciousness and the only slightly more static ‘material’ world? And the brain, is that behavior or matter? And love, what’s that? To explore these questions, vast categories and fluid distinctions are fractured and then woven back together to create an oracular, constructed self—a like-minded speaker, who, like us, has five senses as well as countless more that extend perception into other realms. This speaker lives in a dream world of her own making that is set, like a body inside its skin, in the real world that chance has granted her. She—American, Jewish, lesbian—lives inside history and dislocation, inside death and its sister, persistence (“rotgut of pine needles. / Bees do a deathhurdle over the edge, yet I do not transform”). In “Kavala,” titled for the ancient Greek city that was once known as Neapolis (new city) the moon says: ‘I // tell you / what this silence stands for’. The voice of the timeless lyric moon is the poet’s voice. Her voice becomes the voice of Time talking to Space about what it is to be human. And yet, in the world of these poems, as in our world, we also have Formica, Pringles, melting butter and a matching yellow swimsuit. In other words, we have all the realities: the real, the surreal, the unreal, and the existential irreal. We need them all because any self, poetic construct or flesh-and-blood, inhabits all of these and stays busy trying to make sense of the ways in which they intersect. Mary Jo Bang

Runners-Up for the Dorset Prize:

Sarah Mangold of Edmonds, Washington for Her Wilderness Will Be Her Manners
Meredith Stricker of Carmel, California for re-wilding 


Danielle Blau of Ridgewood, New York for peep
Mark J. Brewin, Jr. of Northampton, Massachusetts for Atomysticism 
John De Stefano of New York, New York for The Roadless Travels
John DeWald of Bogart, Georgia for Angular Chorus
Anna Elkins of Jacksonville, Oregon for Hope of Stones
Nava EtShalom of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for The Knives We Need
Kerry James Evans of Auburn, Alabama for The Eventual Pomegranate
Rodney Gomez of Brownsville, Texas for Arsenal with Praise Song
Rochelle Hurt of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Screen Tests for Girls
Catherine Imbriglio of Riverside, Rhode Island for [Numeracy]
Peter Krumbach of Del Mar, California for Man Inside An Unprepared Piano
Cameron McGill of Moscow, Idaho for There, There
Elizabeth Metzger of Pacific Palisades, California for Lying In
Elizabeth-Astrid Powell of Underhill, Vermont for Atomizer


Diana Adams of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for Imported Poems
S. Brook Corfman of Chicago, Illinois for No Emotion
Daniel Coudriet of Richmond, Virginia for Museum People
Marlon Fick of Odessa, Texas for The Tenderness and the Wood
Kat Finch of Ypsilanti, Michigan for After Omens
Jeannine Hall Gailey of Woodinville, Washington for Flare
Noah Eli Gordon of Denver, Colorado for Cake
Judy Halebsky of Oakland, California for Sky of Wu
Alice Jones of Berkeley, California for Vault
Anita Olivia Koester of Charlottesville, Virginia for The Cartography of Grief
Stuart Lishan of Delaware, Ohio for An Archeology of Light
Matt Morton of Dallas, Texas for Improvisation without Accompaniment
Caitlin Roach of Henderson, Nevada for Inheriting Bodies / American Landscapes
Stephanie Schlaifer of Saint Louis, Missouri for Well Waiting Room
Katherine Soniat of Charlotte, North Carolina for My Antiquity

We wish to congratulate Lisa Hiton, our two runners’-up, finalists and semifinalists, and all who entered manuscripts in the Dorset Prize for delighting us with a stunning number of terrific submissions. By your writing, each of you joins in the solitary and so-important work of making poetry. Many, many thanks to our judge, Mary Jo Bang, for blessing us with the so-very-hard (and largely unsung) work of selecting a winner and runners’-up, and for writing a superbly thoughtful citation. 

Please bear in mind that the Berkshire Prize for a First of Second Book of Poetry is open now, judged by Oliver de la Paz. See submission guidelines here.