Thank You to the Preliminary Readers for the 2021 Berkshire Prize

Chaun Ballard is the author of the chapbook Flight, winner of the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. Born in St. Louis, he is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Alaska and resides in Anchorage.

A former human rights observer in Haiti and Suriname, and a high school teacher in West Africa, Amy Beeder balances an ear for meter with an often ominous tone, creating a musical, at times mythical, exploration of how we construct beauty and strangeness. She is the author of the poetry collection Burn the Field (2006), which critic Sandra Gilbert declared “an impressive debut for a writer who reveres the heft, texture, and taste of words,” Now Make an Altar (2012), and And So Wax Was Made & Also Honey (2020)
Writing in the journal West Branch, Sarah Kennedy described Beeder’s first book as one that “examines the fragility of the mortal body” through “allusive, ekphrastic poems” that have a traditional bent. Kennedy noted that while “sickness and death are … recurrent themes” in Burn the Field, the “counterthrust of Beeder’s musical rhythms and striking imagery suggest that her project is to make beautiful metaphor of our dangerous world.”
Beeder’s honors include a 2001 “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, and an award from the Emerging Writers Network. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, American Letters & Commentary, Black Warrior Review, The Nation, Poetry, and Puerto del Sol. She has taught at the University of New Mexico and the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference and has served as an editor for Blue Mesa Review. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mario Chard is the author of Land of Fire (Tupelo Press, 2018), winner of the Dorset Prize. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nick Courtright, who received his doctorate from the University of Texas, is the author of The Forgotten World (2021), Let There Be Light (2014) and Punchline (2012). Nick is the Executive Editor of Atmosphere Press, and his work has appeared in The Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, and The Southern Review, among dozens of others. 

Matthew Gellman’s poems are featured or forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Narrative, The Common, Ninth Letter, The Missouri Review, Indiana Review, Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight and elsewhere. A recipient of a Brooklyn Poets fellowship and an Academy of American Poets prize, Matthew was a finalist for Narrative’s Tenth Annual Poetry Contest as well as The Missouri Review’s 2019 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize, and he was awarded the Adroit Journal’s Djanikian Scholarship in 2020. He is the winner of the 2021 Snowbound Chapbook Prize. His full-length manuscript, “Beforelight,” was a finalist for Tupelo Press’ 2019 Berkshire Prize, for Four Way Books’ 2020 Levis Prize, and for the 2020 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. Matthew holds an MFA from Columbia University and currently lives in New York City, where he works in elder care and teaches at Hunter College and the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Kyle McCord is the author of five books of poetry including National Poetry Series Finalist Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders. His work has been featured in AGNI, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. Kyle has received grants from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency. He serves as executive editor Gold Wake Press and lives in Des Moines, Iowa where he teaches at Drake University.

Nicholas Regiacorte received his BA in English from Roanoke College and his MFA in poetry writing from the University of Iowa. His poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, New Orleans Review, Phoebe, New American Writing, Bennington Review and elsewhere. His book of poems American Massif is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. He teaches creative writing, in poetry and nonfiction, along with courses in English prosody and single-author courses. He is also the coordinator of the college’s letterpress shop, where he runs Prairie Moon Press. A native of Maine, with roots in southern Italy, he may have finally settled in Galesburg, with his wife and two sons.

Cutter Streeby holds an MFA from the University of East Anglia and an MA in Literature from King’s College, London. He has delivered many lectures on poetics, translation, and translation theory, including “Navigating Lèse-Majesté: Translating the Poetry of Zakariya Amataya” at universities across Thailand and Malaysia while teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Publications, translations, and anthologies include The White ReviewAnthology of South East Asian Poets (Vagabond Press), Chicago Quarterly ReviewChestnut ReviewHayden’s Ferry ReviewCincinnati Review and World Literature Today among others. He successfully exited his first marketing startup,, in 2020.

Jeff Streeby is an American poet and haibunist. He received his MFA in Poetry from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. Streeby is an Associate Editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L).