Announcing the Semi-Finalists for the 2021 Dorset Prize

Rachel Abramowitz of Santa Monica, California, The Birthday of the Dead 

Rachel is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Oxford. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Wave Composition, an intern at the Paris Review, a stock analyst (for three months), and has taught English Literature at The University of Iowa, the University of Oxford, and most recently at Barnard College in New York. She is currently based in New Hampshire.


Amanda Auerbach of Silver Spring, Maryland, Pushed Snow 

Amanda Auerbach is a poet and literary critic, mostly of 18th and 19th-century British novels, an Assistant Professor of English at Catholic University in Washington D.C., poetry book reviewer, and Editorial Assistant for Tupelo Quarterly. Constantly toggling between things academic and creative, past and present, fiction and poetry.


Anne Champion of Bay City, Texas, When the Flag Becomes a Shroud 

Anne Champion is the author of The Good Girl is Always a Ghost (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), She Saints & Holy Profanities (Quarterly West, 2019), Reluctant Mistress (Gold Wake Press, 2013), Book of Levitations (Trembling Pillow Press, 2019), and The Dark Length Home (Noctuary Press, 2017).

Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Epiphany Magazine, The Pinch, The Greensboro Review, New South, and elsewhere.  She was a 2009 Academy of American Poet’s Prize recipient, a Barbara Deming Memorial grant recipient, a 2015 Best of the Net winner, and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

She holds degrees in Behavioral Psychology and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and an MFA in Poetry from Emerson College.  She currently teaches writing and literature in Texas.


John de Stefano of New York, New York, The Roadless Travels 

John De Stefano‘s poems have appeared over the years in a number of magazines and literary journals, including The Chicago Review, Partisan Review, Agni, Another Chicago Magazine, Sequoia, The Southwest Review, Northwest Review, The Quarterly (Q), Salmagundi, Poetry East, New Letters, The Paris Review, Harper’s, The Canary, and Poetry magazine.


Matthew Gellman of Brooklyn, New York, Beforelight 

Matthew Gellman‘s poems are featured or forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Prelude, the Journal, B O D Y, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in New York, where he co-edits Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight and is an MFA candidate at Columbia University.


Rachel Harkai of Detroit, Michigan, Disintegration Loops 

Interdisciplinary writer and 2019 National Poetry Series Finalist, Rachel Harkai earned an MFA in Writing from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She was runner-up in the 2016 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, has been awarded a Kresge Artist Fellowship, and is the recipient of four Hopwood awards for both poetry and nonfiction.

Harkai has held residencies with the Montello Foundation, Hub City Writers Project, the Goldwell Open Air Museum, and InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a non-profit organization that places professional writers in Detroit Public Schools. She is the former host of the Living Writers Show, a literary talk show on WCBN-FM 88.3 Ann Arbor and has conducted interviews with a wide range of writers including Maggie Nelson, Jonathan Lethem, Marie Howe, and others.

Harkai currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for Room Project, a space for women and non-binary writers in Detroit. 


K.D. Harryman of Los Angeles, California, The Girls’ Book of Knots 

K. D. Harryman’s work has appeared in Narrative, The Greensboro Review, Carolina Quarterly, Dogwood, Raleigh Review, Forklift, Alaska Quarterly, Verse Daily, North American Review and The Cortland Review among others. She is the recipient of the 2019 Rumi Prize sponsored by Arts & Letters and the2018 James Hearst Poetry Prize sponsored by North American Review. Her first book, Auto Mechanic’s Daughter, was selected by Chris Abani in 2007 for the Black Goat Poetry Series Imprint at Akashic Books in Brooklyn. She lives with her family in Los Angeles. Learn more at


Eva Hooker of Notre Dame, Indiana, Portion 

Eva Hooker is the author of Godwit (3 Taos Press 2016) and two hand bound chapbooks, The Winter Keeper (Chapiteau Press 2000) and Notes for Survival in the Wilderness (Chapiteau Press 2011). The Winter Keeper was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. Her poems have appeared in journals such as: Agni, Conjunctions Web, Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, Memorious, New England Review, Notre Dame Review, Orion, Salmagundi, Spoon RiverTerrain, Water~Stone and Witness. Five poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. “Before the Spring in which the Forsythia Bloom” (nominated by the Harvard Review) appeared in Best New Poets 2008.

Lake Superior and Madeline Island leave a profound watermark on her poetry and her understanding of the ecology of the northland. When the lake looks like a mirror, she heads out in her small red kayak. Slowly meandering along the lake shore is her finest muse.

Eva is professor of English and writer in residence at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Prior to her faculty appointment at Saint Mary’s, she was Regents Professor of Poetry at Saint John’s University in Minnesota. She is a Sister of the Holy Cross.


J. Bailey Hutchison of Minneapolis, Minnesota, GUT

Hutchinson’s work has been featured by SalamanderBeloitNew South, BOAATand more. She has published a variety of capsule reviews on contemporary poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. She was the 2016 recipient of the James T. Whitehead Creative Writing Endowment, and the 2018 recipient of both the Felix Christopher McKean Memorial Award for Poetry and the Lily Peter Fellowship in Poetry, awarded by the University of Arkansas’ department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences.


Maya Jewell Zeller of Spokane Washington, out takes / glove box 

Maya Jewell Zeller (pronouns: she/her/hers) grew up in the Northwest. She has taught writing and literature to a range of demographics: high school and college students, fourth graders, and senior citizens; at multiple universities, schools, conferences, and retreats, in the U.S. and abroad. A two-time writer-in-residence in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Recipient of a 2016 Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and Travel Grant from the American Association of University Professors, Maya has had work translated and presented internationally in Madrid, as part of the Unamuno Author Festival (2019) and Reading Series (2018), and as a visiting writer at University of Oxford’s Meet the Poet at Teddy Hall; she has additionally won awards from Sycamore ReviewNew South, New Ohio Review, Dogwood,  Florida Review and Crab Orchard Review. Maya’s poems and essays have also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes, Best of the Net, and other awards. 


Karen Kovacik of Indianapolis, Indiana, Portable City 

Karen Kovacik is a poet and translator of contemporary Polish poetry. Her books include Metropolis Burning, with many evocations of cities at war; Beyond the Velvet Curtain, winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize; and Nixon and I. Her translation of Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist, longlisted for the 2014 National Translation Award, is available from White Pine Press, and in 2016, White Pine published Scattering the Dark: An Anthology of Polish Women Poets, edited and selected by her. She’s Professor of English at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she teaches creative writing and American poetry. Her work has been honored with the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland, and a Fellowship in Literary Translation from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Eleanor Lerman of Long Beach, New York, Beautiful Denizens of the Deep, Dark Night 

Eleanor Lerman is a writer and editor who lives in New York. Her first book of poetry, Armed Love, published when she was twenty-one, was nominated for a National Book Award. She has since published three other award-winning collections of poetry-Come the Sweet By and By; The Mystery of Meteors; and Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds; along with Observers and Other Stories, a collection of short stories. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2006 Milton Dorfman Poetry Prize and was awarded the 2006 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for the year’s most outstanding book of poetry for Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds.


Megan Merchant of Prescott, Arizona, Skin Hunger 

Megan Merchant lives in the tall pines of Prescott, Arizona where she spends her days exploring, drinking too much coffee and avoiding the laundry.

Her poems and translations have appeared in publications including The Atlanta ReviewMom Egg ReviewHunger MountainInternational Poetry Review, Diode  and more.She holds a MFA degree from UNLV and was the winner of the 2017 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize, the 2016-2017 Cog Literary Award, the Las Vegas Poets Prize, second place in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and most recently the Inaugural Michelle Boisseau Prize.  She is a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee. 

She is the editor of Pirene’s Fountain,  an editor at The Comstock Review, and the author of three full-length collections with Glass Lyre Press: Gravel Ghosts, (2016), The Dark’s Humming, ( 2015 Lyrebird Award), and Grief Flowers (2018).  Her latest book, Before the Fevered Snow (Stillhouse Press) came into the world in April  2020. She is also the author of four chapbooks: Translucent, sealed, (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), Unspeakable Light (Throwback Books, 2016), In the Rooms of a Tiny House (ELJ Publications, 2016), and A Thousand Paper Cranes (Finishing Line Press, 2016).  


Anna Morrison of Oakland, California, each morning what I am dies again and what I am rises around me

Anna Morrison’s poetry can be read in journals such as BOMB, Fence, Lana Turner, Interim, and Puerto del Sol. Her chapbook Water in three acts was selected for Newfound’s Emerging Poets Chapbook Series (forthcoming in November 2020). Her poems won the LUMINA and Prism Review poetry prizes, and her critical prose has appeared in Omniverse. Passionate about small-press publishing, she’s served as an editor for Kelsey Street Press and received an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Saint Mary’s College of CA. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in California.

Saara Myrene Raappana of Marshall, Minnesota, Chamber After Chamber 

Saara Myrene Raappana wrote the chapbooks A Story of America Goes Walking (in collaboration with artist Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton, Shechem Press, 2016) and Milk Tooth, Levee, Fever(Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern China, is a founding editor of Cellpoems, and works as communications director for Motionpoems. She’s received grants and scholarships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She likes ice fishing, train rides, reading poems to rooms full of strangers, and making up names for extant, imprecisely labelled birds. 


Magali Roy-Fequiere of Galesburg, Illinois, Harsh Blessings 

Magali Roy-Fequiere’s work has appeared in African American Review, Cave Canem Anthology XIII, and The Squaw Valley Review. Having graduated from her three-year Cave Canem fellowship in 2013, she continued to apprentice at VONA, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Bread Loaf-Orion. Her poems explore memory and direct perception in an attempt to know the world vividly and honestly. A daughter of multiple diasporas, she sees community as a state of radical openness. Her transnational childhood informs her research on nationalism and intellectual life. She teaches gender and women’s studies at Knox College and is the author of Women, Creole Identity, and Intellectual Life in Early Twentieth-Century Puerto Rico (Temple University Press). Magali holds a doctorate in Latin American literature from Stanford University. Desiderata: to infuse her poems with non-aggressive perceptions and movement.


Andrew Seguin of New York, New York, Meridian 

Andrew Seguin is a poet and photographer who was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1981. He is the author of a full-length poetry collection, The Room In Which I Work(Omnidawn, 2017), and two chapbooks: Black Anecdote (Poetry Society of America, 2010) and NN (Tammy, 2016). Andrew’s poems have appeared widely in literary magazines, including in Boston Review, CROWD, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, Gulf Coast, LIT, and Iowa Review, and he has contributed to the New York Botanical Garden’s Literary Audio Tour. His writing and photography have been supported by the United States Fulbright Program, Poets House, the Kiernan Gallery, Panopticon Gallery, and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Andrew lives in New York City. 


Emily Vizzo of Santa Barbara, California, LUCKY 

Emily Vizzo is a writer and educator whose work has appeared in FIELD, Blackbird, jubilat, North American Review, The Los Angeles Times, Next American City and other publications. She previously covered Congress for the Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C., and has written extensively on topics including the San Diego biotech industry, corporate social justice, surf, the arts, education, business, and health.


Sam Witt of Brookline, Massachusetts, The Godless Particle

Sam Witt is the author of three books, most recently, Little Domesday Clock (Carolina Wren Press, 2018). He also edited Devouring the Green: Fear of a Human Planet, a poetry anthology on the intersection between technology and ecology. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.