Tupelo Press is especially delighted to announce that our judge, Julie Carr, has selected Green Island by Liz Countryman of Columbia, South Carolina as the winner of the 2022 Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry! Liz Countryman will receive a $3,000 cash prize, in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. All manuscripts are judged anonymously.
Liz Countryman teaches in the MFA program at the University of South Carolina and co-edits the annual poetry journal Oversound. She is the author of one previous collection, A Forest Almost. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Lana Turner, and The Canary.
“Load every rift of your subject with ore,” wrote John Keats to P.B. Shelley just six months before his death. It’s this line that I thought of again and again while reading Liz Countryman’s capacious, ore-filled lines. Ore: a rock or sediment that can, with effort and skill, be treated, refined, forged into something of great value. The poet’s ore is memory, or memory and thought, or memory, thought, sensation, and desire: all these elements are richly moving through nearly every moment of this astounding book. Liz Countryman mines childhood for its longing, its intense sensations, its loneliness—a father’s face at a drive-through, “a pile of tethered whipped-around balloons”—but she also stays resolutely in the present, finding there the parent’s “soft anxiety,” the perennial wish for stasis and movement at once. “I want everything to live,” she confesses, and it’s because of this desire that the poet is compelled to describe, to give life to the dead, to dig in the garden, to rub her hands across the wood of a table, to “shove my face into distance like a bouquet.” This voracious relationship to the here and now presses firmly into and against the need to understand the past and all the longings it has deposited, like a residue of silt, on the skin.
I found myself so deeply moved by this tension, so awed by the intelligence that balances there between memory and present-time, that I frequently paused in my reading to at once note the world around me and to recall my own childhood—the precise scents, sights, and sounds of both. It was as if with this book, Elizabeth Countryman had granted me the gift of my own forgotten life.
Our sincere congratulations to Liz Countryman, and all of our finalists and semifinalists.
Finalists for the 2022 Berkshire Prize
Deborah Bernhard of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Deborah Bernhardt’s first collection, Echolalia, was published by Four Way Books in 2006 as the winner of the Intro Prize for Poetry. She is also the author of Driftology (New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM Chapbook Prize). She received two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, and fellowships/grants from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing (Halls Fellowship), Wisconsin Arts Board, Penn State Altoona (Writer-in-Residence), the Tennessee Arts Commission, Writers@Work, Summer Literary Seminars in Russia and the Hessen Literary Society, Germany.
Tessa Bolsover of Providence, Rhode Island.
Tessa Bolsover is a poet based between Providence, RI and Queens, NY. Her work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, No, Dear Magazine, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She is a founding editor of auric press.
Kate Bolton Bonnici of Los Angeles, California.
Haunt One Place and Not Another.
Dr. Kate Bolton Bonnici grew up in Alabama and holds degrees from Harvard, NYU Law, UC Riverside (MFA), and UCLA (PhD). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Georgia Review, Image, Arts & Letters, Tupelo Quarterly, the Southern Humanities Review, CounterText, Exemplaria, and elsewhere. Beginning in August 2022, she will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Pepperdine University.
Loisa Fenichell of Brooklyn, New York.
Wandering in all directions of this earth.
Loisa Fenichell’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has been featured or is forthcoming in Guernica Magazine, Tupelo Quarterly, Narrative Magazine, Washington Square Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, “all these urban fields,” was published by nothing to say press. She has been the recipient of an award from Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop and a finalist for the 2021 Narrative 30 Below contest and the 2021 Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize. She is currently an MFA candidate at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Christopher Nelson of Grinnell, Iowa.
The Principle of the Knot.
Christopher Nelson is the author of Blood Aria (University of Wisconsin Press, 2021) and three chapbooks, including Blue House, recipient of a New American Poets Fellowship from the Poetry Society of America. He is the founder and editor of the journal Under a Warm Green Linden and Green Linden Press, a nonprofit publisher dedicated to poetic excellence and reforestation. He edited the anthology Essential Voices: Poetry of Iran and Its Diaspora, which was named by Entropy Magazine as one of the best poetry books of 2020–21. Visit christophernelson.info.
Monica Ong of Trumbull, Connecticut.
Monica Ong is the author of Silent Anatomies (2015), winner of the Kore Press First Book Award in poetry. A Kundiman poetry fellow and graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Ong’s visual poems and objects also reside in the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Alyson Paty of Brooklyn, New York.
Allyson Paty’s poems can be found in BOMB, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, jubilat, Kenyon Review Online, The Literary Review, Poetry, Tin House, the PEN Poetry Series, and elsewhere. She was a 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Poetry and a 2017-2018 participant in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program. With Norah Maki, she is co-founding editor of Singing Saw Press. She is Associate Director of the Writing Program at NYU Gallatin, where she runs Confluence, a platform for student writing, art, and research, and works to create a print journal with NYU’s Prison Education Program.
Karen Rigby of Gilbert, Arizona.
Karen Rigby was born in the Republic of Panama in 1979. Her debut poetry book, Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), was selected by Paul Hoover for a 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Karen’s work has been honored by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and a Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council artist opportunity grant. Her poetry is published in journals such as The London Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, and Australian Book Review. She’s read at venues including Rice University, Saint Vincent College, and the Tucson Festival of Books. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Karen freelances as a book reviewer. She lives in Arizona.
Hannah V. Warren of Athens, Georgia.
Slaughterhouse for Old Wives’ Tales.
Hannah V Warren is a poet, storyteller, and speculative literature scholar from Mississippi. She is the author of two short poetry collections: Southern Gothic Corpse Machine from Carrion Bloom Books (2022) and [re]construction of the necromancer from Sundress Publications (2020). Among other journals, her works have found homes in Gulf Coast, Fairy Tale Review, The Pinch, THRUSH, Passages North, Crazyhorse, Southeast Review, and Mid-American Review. Currently, she is working on a collection of poetry that looks closely at the intersections of trauma and monstrous bodies, and a speculative novel that considers ritual, gender norms, and post-apocalypse. Hannah V Warren has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Kansas and is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Georgia. Starting in September 2022, she will spend a year in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar to work on her dissertation. Her research interests include monstrous aesthetics, Gothic literatures, poetry, and post/apocalypse.
Emily Wolahan of San Francisco, California.
Emily Wolahan is a writer and teacher living in San Francisco. She is the author of HINGE (National Poetry Review Press, 2015). Look for her poetry in Volt, Tinderbox Journal, Fourteen Hills, Gulf Coast, Boston Review and other journals. Find her prose in Among Margins, Arts & Letters, and other journals. Her writing has won Georgia Review and Arts & Letters prizes. She was awarded Affiliate Artist positions at Headlands Center for the Arts from 2016-2019. Her collaboration with artist Owen Brown can be found at The Fieldwork Scroll: A Modern Exodus. She is currently a Poetry Editor at Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She also served as Senior Editor at Two Lines Press for three years and is a founding editor at JERRY Magazine. Emily is also a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology and Social Change at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the intersection of climate activism and visual art.
Nicholas Yingling of Martinez, California.
The Fire Road.
Nicholas Yingling’s work can be found in The Missouri Review, 32 Poems, Pleiades, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of UC Davis’ creative writing program and currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Angelique Zobitz of Chicago, Illinois.
Angelique is a poet. She was raised on the Southside of Chicago, has been around some places and is back again. Her poetry has been published widely and can be found in The Journal, VIDA Review, The Adirondack Review, Sugar House Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry’s Poet Resist Series, Poets Reading the News, anomalous press, Night Heron Barks, So to Speak: a feminist journal of language + art, SWWIM, Rise Up Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Rogue Agent, Psaltery & Lyre, Negative Capability Press, Mortar Magazine, Obsidian: Literature & Arts of the African Diaspora, Yemassee, The Midwest Review, CONSTRUCTION Lit Mag, Monologging and others. Angelique is a 2021 Georgia Poetry Prize finalist, 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee, two-time 2020 Best New Poets nominee, a three-time 2020 Best of the Net Nominee, a two-time 2019 Best of the Net nominee, and a Spring 2019 Black River Chapbook Competition Finalist. Her chapbook Burn Down Your House from Milk & Cake Press released in October 2021 and can be purchased hereand her chapbook Love Letters to The Revolution from The American Poetry Journal released November 2020 is available for purchase here.
Semifinalists for the 2022 Berkshire Prize
Diego Baez of Chicago, Illinois. Yaguarete White.
Craig Brandis of Lake Oswego, Oregon. The Crying of Small Motors.
Chris Campanioni of Brooklyn, New York. before we had our faces.
Lane Falcon of Alexandria, Virginia. Deep Blue Odds.
Jenny Grassl of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Deer Woman in the Dining Room.
Jaimee Hills of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. High Dive.
Peter Munro of Shoreline, Washington. Fisheries Science in the North Pacific.
Katie Naughton of Buffalo, New York. The Real Ethereal.
Bino Realuyo of Jackson Heights, New York. #TheRebelSonnets.
Austin Segrest of Appleton, Wisconsin. Groom.
Will Schutt of Prato, Italy. Impressions of a Person.
Andy Sia of Cincinnati, Ohio. Philophilia.
Olga Vilkotskaya of Austin, Texas. Let.
Enormous thanks as well to our terrific readers and judge, Julie Carr.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Julie Carr lives in Denver. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals such as The Nation, Boston Review, APR, New American Writing, Denver Quarterly, Volt, A Public Space, 1913, The Baffler and elsewhere. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including: The Best American Poetry (Scribner); Not for Mothers Only (Fence Books); Poets on Teaching (University of Iowa Press); Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology (W.W. Norton); Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books; and &NOW Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing 2013, The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility & the Avant-Garde (Nightboat Books), Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of Eight Hybrid Literary Genres (Rose Metal Press), The Volta Book of Poets (Sidebrow Books) among others. Honors and awards include The Sawtooth Poetry Award, A National Poetry Series selection, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (2010-2011).
A former dancer, she now collaborates regularly with dance-artist K.J. Holmes, and has created collaborative works with many other artists, dancers, and filmmakers. With Tim Roberts she helps run Counterpath, an independent literary press and a bookstore/gallery/performance space/community garden in Denver. She is a Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the Department of English where she teaches courses in poetry and poetics from the eighteenth century to the present.
Our heart-felt gratitude goes out to all who sent us your 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 countless hours of reading pleasure.
Finally, and perhaps most important, we hope you will consider letting us see your full-length manuscript, as our annual Summer Open Reading Period is currently open until August 31st. Thank you and we look forward to reading your work!