Tupelo Press Proudly Announces the Results of the Summer Open Reading Period

Tupelo Press is delighted to announce that we will publish two manuscripts submitted to us during this year’s Summer Open Reading Period.

The editors are grateful to have read (and reread) more than 1,300 Summer Open manuscripts that came to us, not only in record numbers, but in record quality—arriving at our doorstep from throughout the United States, and from every continent save the Arctic.

We also wish to recognize two manuscripts of extraordinary merit, along with a list of manuscripts that we found so very deserving, and have referred to as Honorable Mentions. 

Please read on for those names. No preliminary readers were involved in the evaluation process. Rather, all manuscript were read (and reread) by Kristina Marie Darling, Editor-in-Chief, Cassandra Cleghorn, Poetry Editor, and Jeffrey Levine, Artistic Director, who are solely responsible for this summer’s selections. Each of the selected poets will receive a $1,000 advance, as well as publication, publicity and distribution by Tupelo Press.

We are proud and honored to select for publication the following two manuscripts:

  • Called Back by Rosa Lane. 
  • The Right Hand by Christina Pugh. 

About Our Two Selected Authors:

Rosa Lane is author of three poetry collections including Chouteaus Chalk, winner, 2017 Georgia Poetry Prize; Tiller North, winner, 2014 Sixteen Rivers Poetry Manuscript Competition; and Roots and Reckonings, a chapbook partially funded by the Maine Arts and Humanities. Her work won the 2018 William Matthews Poetry Prize, a Maine Literary Award among other prizes and has appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Cutthroat, Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Rhino Poetry, Southampton Review, and elsewhere. Rosa splits her time between Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives with her wife.

The editors of Tupelo Press had this to say about Rosa Lane’s Called Back:

In the tradition of writers like Lucie Brock-Broido and Janet Holmes, Rosa Lane allows the mysteries of Emily Dickinson’s life to blossom into an incisive exploration of feminist poetics, innovation, and the gendered, temporally bound nature of artistic audience. “Pull my chair / into dinner’s envelope,” Lane writes in lines as lyrical as they are mysterious. The title of her stunning volume, memorializing the last two words that Dickinson wrote, which are engraved on her headstone, evokes a rich tradition of poetic voice as an alterity that speaks through the writer. For Homer, it was the muses, for the great Modernist H.D., it was the unconscious mind, and for Jack Spicer, it was radio waves from outer space. Here, Lane shows us that otherness that speaks through the poet as inheritance, as history. Yet this history is imbued with new agency and a fresh sociopolitical urgency as Lane considers questions about sexuality and silence in Dickinson’s artistic legacy: “Vortex of heart, or / lone star fixed — barred coupling. I  / dissent, burn a scream / my sapphic love of her—doomed, / disobedient. Damned shut!” This is a necessary and beautifully rendered book.  

Christina Pugh has published five books of poems including Stardust Media (University of Massachusetts Press, 2020), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; and Perception (Four Way Books, 2017), named one of the top poetry books of 2017 by Chicago Review of Books. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, and many other publications. Her book of essays on poetry, On Ghosts and the Overplus: Reading Poems in the Twenty-First Century, is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press in 2024. She has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Bogliasco Foundation. A recent visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, she is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  

The editors of Tupelo Press had this to say about Christina Pugh’s The Right Hand

In poetry that dazzles with its erudition and cosmopolitan approach, Christina Pugh shows us the role of language in constructing—and eventually deconstructing—the self. “In a room made of windows, glass is the skin,” she tells us. At turns luminous and devastating, the work in this gorgeous volume reveals every facet of the narrator’s lived experience—from inhabiting the physical body to articulating a sophisticated artistic sensibility—as discursive constructs, arising out of a nexus of community and shared experience. “[L]ike a flock we all landed at Teresa and the angel,” she recounts. Yet, at the same time, Pugh interrogates the narrator’s lingering sense of cultural and linguistic otherness, revealing connection with those around her as both contingent and inherently unstable. The voice that emerges from this intersection of philosophy and art, celebration and elegy, is as singular as it is eloquent. “I’m thinking everyone must have a fulcrum,” she writes, “The place from which we radiate.” These are poems that radiate with incredible artistic vision and writerly craft. 

In addition to the two books weve chosen to publish, we wish to single out two exceptional manuscripts of extraordinary merit. Both of these manuscripts were on the table right up to the final minutes:

Cassandra Whitaker. Wolf Devouring a Wolf Devouring a Wolf. 

Rachel Abramowitz. Flea with Martyrdom. 

Honorable Mentions: 

Gillian Cummings. Ever the Rain.  

Fay Dillof. Some Animal. 

Jenny Grassl. Magicolia. 

Kelly Hoffer. Fire Series. 

Kristi Maxwell. Wide Ass of Night.  

Jeffrey Pethybridge. Force Drift. 

Siobhan Scarry. (A)Pastoral. 

Abigail Ardelle Zammitt. Ears Flapping Gravely to the Beat of Human Voices. 

Andrew Zawacki. These Late Eclipses. 

Angelique Zobitz. Seraphim. 

Congratulations to all of the poets whose exciting work gave us so many, many hours of pleasurable reading, not only those poets cited above, but all who submitted manuscript to our July Open Reading Period. Please keep in mind that our Sunken Garden Chapbook Prize (Chen Chen, final judge) is currently open to submissions until October 31st, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. Our Dorset Prize (Diane Seuss, final judge) is open to submission with a deadline of December 31st. We encourage you to let us see your work again.


The Editors