Tupelo Press announces the winner, finalists, and semifinalists for the 2020 Snowbound Chapbook Award

We are delighted to share the news that John Yau has selected Eric Pankey of Fairfax, Virginia as winner of the 2020 Snowbound Chapbook Award for his manuscript, “The Future Perfect: A Fugue.The winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, publication by Tupelo Press, and national distribution.

Eric Pankey is the author of twelve collections of poems and most recently a collection of essays, Vestiges (Parlor Press 2019). His honors include fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. He is the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University, where he teaches in the BFA and MFA programs.

Judge’s Citation by John Yau: 

“I am stunned, delighted, and moved by the seamless merging of meaning and music that unfolds throughout THE FUTURE PERFECT: A Fugue. Whether made up of one sentence or a dozen, each section of this long, single work stands on its own, as self-sufficient as a painting in a museum, while contributing to the whole masterful gathering.

THE FUTURE PERFECT: A Fugue is an intricate work of decisive oscillation, of tender and careful attention shifting swiftly and precisely between the infinitesimal and the vast, and between one concrete reality and another, without ever losing its way:

The house rages, but is not consumed. Ablaze, it stands as square and certain 

as a child’s drawing.  In each window: flames instead of curtains.  

Such sure-footed writing is astonishing. It would be an understatement to point out that the reader rarely encounters such piercing visionary states, with the author highly alert to sound and syllable, while focused on meaning:

Is it disillusion or dissolution that one experiences first? 

Throughout THE FUTURE PERFECT: A Fugue, the author probes our capacity for perception: what do we see (the present), remember (the past), and imagine (the future)? And how do we understand them? What elevates the writing even more is the unmistakable passion and urgency pulsing throughout each of the poem’s sections, the deliberate and inspired choice of every word.” 


Jesús Castillo of Oceanside, California–Variations on Adonis 

Georgia Dennison of Portland, Maine—The Geographic Tongue 

Catherine DeSantis of Detroit, Michigan—letters in the dirt [hymns for weeds]

Amanda Hawkins of Woodland, California—Flowerland 

Ae Hee Lee of Milwaukee, Wisconsin—Connotary 

Sarah Mangold of Edmonds, Washington—This is Becoming a Feminine Chapter 

Matt McBride of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania—The Mourners Forget Which Funeral They’re At

Peter Myers of Brooklyn, New York—Pock-Up

Max Schleicher of Salt Lake City, Utah—Sonnets for an End of the Midwest 

Stephanie Strickland of New York, New York—Cataclysm 

Sara Watson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—Our Imaginary Childhood 


Mark Jay Brewin, Jr. of Easthampton, Massachusetts—Retrograde 

Laura Bylenok of Fredericksburg, Virginia—Living Room 

John de Stefano of New York, New York—from: The Visible Remains 

Dolapo Demuren of Brooklyn, New York—Agape 

Jody Chan of Toronto, Ontario, Canada—Impact Statement 

Samuel Hughes of Burlington, Vermont—Song Upon Leaving 

Leah Claire Kaminski of Chicago, Illinois—Differential Diagnosis from the Santa Anas

Diana Lee of Austin, Texas—Dramedy 

Peter Mason of Fayetteville, Arkansas—Floodwaters 

James McCorkle of Geneva, New York—To Come Back, Again 

Emily Stokes of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—Joystorm 

Julia Thacker of Arlington, Massachusetts—The Winter Comb 

Jordan Windholz of Carlisle, Pennsylvania—The Sisters 

We wish to congratulate Eric Pankey, our finalists and semifinalists, and all who entered manuscripts in the Snowbound Chapbook Award. We received a record number of submissions, and were delighted by a stunning number of terrific manuscripts. By your writing, each of you joins in the solitary and vital work of making poetry. Many, many thanks to our judge, John Yau, for blessing us with the so-very-hard (and largely unsung) work of selecting a winner from a field of deserving manuscripts, and for writing a superbly thoughtful citation. 

Please bear in mind:

  • Our special “Four Quartets: Poetry in the Pandemic” call for 12-page poetry folios for the remainder of June, only, (See submission guidelines here);