Tupelo Press Proudly Names Our 2021 Sunken Garden Chapbook Award Winner, Runners-Up, Finalists and Semifinalists

Tupelo Press is especially delighted to announce that our judge, Mark Bibbins, has selected Bed by Elizabeth Metzger of Los Angeles, California as winner of the 2021 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Award! 

Elizabeth Metzger is the author of The Spirit Papers (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and the chapbook The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (Horsethief Books, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Nation, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, among others. Her prose has recently been published in ConjunctionsLiterary Hub, Guernica, and Boston Review. She is a poetry editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books. You can find more of her writing at elizabethmetzger.com.

Author Photo Courtesy of Yvette Roman

About bed Mark Bibbins writes: 

Let me confess to having taken the easy way in. My mind first went to the noun (where we sleep), then to the verb (“to sleep with”). Yours may have too, but the more time you spend with this remarkable book, the more you might come to think of planting, tending, picking. A bed of roses—or indeed, no bed of roses. Elizabeth Metzger’s poems act as both repositories and engines of mystery, of “secrets other secrets / have rubbed away,” yet their mysteriousness never feels coy. There’s a difference between hiding information and asserting control over how it’s revealed. “I stayed off-center,” she writes, and to me this has always seemed like one of the better places from which to view things, but hers is furthermore a poetry that recognizes, as Gertrude Stein put it, “there is no use in a center.” Among Metzger’s many gifts is her ability to describe complicated positions simply, facing down the conundrums of language and perspective to devastating effect: “The children left me. / You say they came.”  —Mark Bibbins

Our sincere congratulations to Elizabeth Metzger, whose book “Bed” will be published in time for her debut reading this fall at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, September 11-13.

2021 Sunken Garden Runners-Up

Christian Collier of Hixson, Tennessee, The Gleaming of the Blade 

Shawn Hoo of Singapore, Of the Florids

Sara Watson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Our Imaginary Childhood 

2021 Sunken Garden Finalists

Chloe Hanson of Knoxville, Tennessee, Bluebeard’s Key 

K.D. Harryman of Los Angeles, California, Alprazoland 

Claire Hero of New Paltz, New York, The Encroaching Fur

Kelly Hoffer of Ithaca, New York, The Claude Glass  

Jasmine Khaliq of Brentwood, California, Facefull 

A.D. Lauren-Abunassar of New York, New York, Things Beneath the Sky 

Megan Neville of Cleveland, Ohio, The Fallow 

Antonina Palisano of Hamilton, New York, Axiom for When the Stars Go Out 

Arthur Solway of Santa Cruz, California, Friday Night, Shanghai 

Lucy Wainger of New York, New York, In Life There Are Many Things 

Glenn Shaheen of Houston, Texas, The Tender Land 

Jordan Windholz of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, The Sisters 

Nicholas Yingling of North Hollywood, California, The Thin Book 

2021 Sunken Garden Semifinalists

Diana Adams of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Drop Shot 

Bryan Byrdlong of Chicago, Illinois, Exquisite Corpse 

Dante Di Stefano of Endwell, New York, Little Low Heavens 

Tasha Fouts of Shoreline, Washington, Migrations 

Jenny Grassl of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ephemera on the Lam 

Benjamin Grossberg of West Hartford, Connecticut, As Are Right Fit 

Alejandro Lemus-Gomez of Cambridge, England, Psalms of Lumber and Sea Salt 

Nathan Manley of Concord, New Hampshire, Ecology of the Afterlife 

Noah Falck & Matt McBride of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Pre-Recorded Weather 

Mark Minster of Terre Haute, Indiana, The Path at Owl Hollow 

Ruby Hansen Murray of Cathlamet, Washington, On the Island 

Elizabeth A.I. Powell of Underhill, Vermont, Cygnet, Signet:  Fertility Myth 

Elizabeth Robinson of Oakland, California, Jonah 

Martha Ronk of Los Angeles, California, Distant Sonnets 

Yun Wei of Geneva, Switzerland, Passport Poems 

Kevin West of Denton, Texas, Each Lie That Pollutes the Body 

Nancy Woo of Long Beach, California, Good Darkness 

Charity Yoro of Hillsboro, Oregon, Territories 

Enormous thanks as well to our terrific readers and judge, Mark Bibbins, who is the author of four poetry collections, most recently 13th Balloon from Copper Canyon Press. His first book, Sky Lounge, received a Lambda Literary Award.

Our heart-felt gratitude goes out to all who sent us your chapbook manuscripts and who, by your writing, link arms in the tireless, solitary, and so-important work of making poetry. So many more manuscripts than we can mention here gave us (literally) countless hours of reading pleasure.

Finally, and perhaps most important, we hope you will consider letting us see your chapbook manuscript again, as our annual Snowbound Chapbook Award is on now. We’d also love to see your full-length manuscript, as the annual Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry is also open for submissions.