Issue 44.2 – Spring 2015

2015 Contest Winners

Greg Grummer Poetry Award Winner

Konstantin Kulakov, “Keats by Glenmont Metro”

Judge Brian Teare’s Comments

i admire this poem for the ways it inhabits space. the poet’s meditative mind attaches a feeling or idea to three specific sites: the potential for harm haunts the public space of the street and its transit; desire draws us to the private sphere of the household; an awareness of mortality and a sense of obligation to the dead attends the cemetery. these sites are like a triad that forms a chord, and the sites’ associated ideas and feelings are like the overtones that linger after the keys are struck and the chord decays. i was moved by the quietly obsessive way this poem restricts itself to so few notes and picks them out one by one, inevitably building the same chord again and again, the meditative mind bound to the world by fear, desire, and mortal knowledge.

Runner Up

Gillian Cummings, “Moon Girls of the Medicine Birds”

Judge’s Comments

suppose you’ve given up. suppose someone could intervene in your decision to “float away.” this weird, sweet poem stages a scene of healing in which the poem’s titular girls teach you to tether yourself to others as a way to survive. i love the way the poem’s sonics animate the portrait of these surreal lunar florence nightingales, “soft-crofted/into quiet…finely fretted in frocks.” and i love how, “plushed with moss,” they bring you a kind of wild knowledge that attempts to bring the human you undone by the singular into a communal way of being.



Annual Fiction Contest Winner

Todd Seabrook, “Joel Had a Wedding and We All Went”

Judge Ramona Ausubel’s Comments

Joel Had a Wedding and We All Went is a feat of contradictions: it is just four pages long but it has a whole universe of energy swirling around in it.  It in, all that happens is a few (kind of terrible) guys prepare for a friend’s wedding, but it’s also about unrequited love, about selfishness and sacrifice, faith in the future and fear of growing up.  It’s both ordinary and almost-mythic, this little story, and it’s written with a sure and blazing hand.

Runners Up


Annual Nonfiction Contest Winner

Nikki Reklitis, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”

Judge Roxane Gay’s Comments

“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” … is so beautifully, intelligently rendered. There is an elegant humility to the prose I will not soon forget and then there is the essay’s ending, this echo of what once was, that makes everything we’ve just read, that much more heartbreaking.

Runner Up

Colleen Abel, “Fat Studies”

Judge’s Comments

Abel masterfully blends research and personal narrative to reveal a necessary, honest portrait of living in an unruly body.

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