The number of wholly outstanding folios entered for our Four Quartets: Poetry in the Pandemic anthology was, quite honestly, staggering. We received over 1,000 folios consisting of about 10,000 poems, which means that so many of us are processing these extraordinary times through the lens of poetry. Reading your submissions, we found ourselves reduced to tears again and again and again. Of course, we had to settle upon some “winners,” but frankly, it’s hard to find a submission that we wouldn’t be proud to publish. In naming the five folios selected for the anthology, two honorable mentions, and 20 finalists, we leave on the table at least 50 other folios that knocked our socks off nearly as much. Maybe just as much. But make the hard choices we did, and these five “winners” are absolutely transcendent:
Jon Davis of Santa Fe, New Mexico for Pandemia
Nilufar Karimi of Denver, Colorado for Imagi(nation) / Transitive Maps for Digging
Jae Kim of St. Louis, Missouri, translator of Roommate, Woman by Lee Young-ju of Seoul, Korea
Maggie Queeney of Chicago, Illinois for The Patient
Stephanie Strickland of New York, New York for For the Pandemics – Say What?
J. Mae Barizo of New York, New York for ISOLA
JinJin Xu of Brooklyn, New York for To Red Dust
Kristin George Bagdanov of Sacramento, California for Post Poem
Seneca Basoalto of Charlotte, North Carolina for April Killed a Man
Kate Bonici of Los Angeles, California for Trial
Ruth Danon of Beacon, New York, for Shelter
Samantha DeFlitch of Portsmouth, New Hampshire for Intercede For Me and Approach
Nicholas Goodly of Atlanta, Georgia for At the End of This World
James Harms of Morgantown, West Virginia, for The Just Exchange their Messages
Luisa Igloria of Norfolk, Virginia for Elegy, With Figures from the Star Atlas
Gail Langstroth of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for set me as a seal upon your heart
A.D. Lauren-Abunassar of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for Dreams About Windows
Mary Molinary of Providence, Rhode Island for Two Excerpts from a Book Length Composition
Jim Moore from Minneapolis, Minnesota for Cheese, Almonds, Eggs
Elizabeth Astrid Powell of Underhill, Vermont for Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three
Dean Rader of San Francisco, California for If Something Isn’t Burning it is Incubating
Martha Ronk of Los Angeles, California for Solitude Within Solitude
Meredith Stricker of Carmel, California for Heliotropic
Zoe White of Gardiner, New York for Via Post
Alan Williamson of Berkeley, California for Episodes from a Crisis
Andrea Young of New Orleans, Louisiana for Grief Walk
Jessica Yuan, Cambridge, Massachusetts for Body of Decline
To honor the extraordinary number of other superb entries, we’ll be devoting an entire issue of Tupelo Quarterly to poetry in the pandemic, so even if you don’t see your name here, you very well may be finding in your in-box an invitation to submit your “pandemic” poems to that issue, which will be coming soon.
We’re grateful to each and every one of you who submitted. Never have the final lines of the late Thomas Lux’s “An Horation Notion” about making poetry seemed more resonant, or more timely:
You make the thing because you love the thing
and you love the thing because someone else loved it
enough to make you love it.
And with that your heart like a tent peg pounded
toward the earth’s core.
And with that your heart on a beam burns
through the ionosphere.
And with that you go to work.
You went to work, and we could feel your hearts on beams burning through the ionosphere.
Jeffrey Levine and the entire staff of Tupelo Press