The Golden Crown Literary Society announced finalists for its fiction and nonfiction 16 categories. GCLS will announce the winners sometime between July 5-9 at its annual conference. Since it’s still April, National Poetry Month, I’m featuring the poetry collections that have earned nominations. All of these poets and most of the publishers are new to me, so I’m pretty jazzed! They represent a range of experiences, styles, and themes.
Also: I’ve been looking for poetry collections by queer female-identified poets who grew up in and/or reside in rural areas of the Pacific Northwest. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments below.
“Jane Byers’ Acquired Community is both a collection of narrative poems about seminal moments in North American lesbian and gay history, mostly post-World War II, and a series of first person poems that act as a touchstone to compare the narrator’s coming out experience within the larger context of the gay liberation movement.” (via Jane Byers Poetry)
“Lammy-nominated novelist, editor, and college professor Shelley Thrasher, who grew up in a small, conservative town in East Texas, was a late bloomer. Her first published poetry collection, In and Out of Love, chronicles personal ups and downs during the 1980s and ’90s, when she came out. Most of these 150 brief, haiku-like poems feature images that speak for themselves, influenced by poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, with whom she studied writing.
The first poems portray the crushes and lovers the author was involved with during this period of her life. In part two, they express the longing for something she didn’t understand. Section three chronicles the painful rough spots she encountered during her journey of accepting herself as a lesbian. And the final section celebrates being in love with the woman she has now been joined with for twenty-five adventurous years.” (via Sapphire Books)
“Poet Laura Foley’s strong fifth collection, Night Ringing, ruminates on romance and family via autobiographical free verse.” (via LauraDaviesFoley.com)
“The poems in Showtime at the Ministry of Lost Causes are survival songs, the tunes you whistle while walking through the Valley of Shadows, to keep your fears at bay and your spirit awake.” (via University of Pittsburgh)
“Denise Benavides’ debut collection Split is a dedication to motherlessness and abandon—to a nightly killing and rebirths. At its worst, it is all teeth masticating through the body in an attempt to interrogate and cut out what no longer serves the Self. It is a collection not meant for the weak, but for those willing to walk through what haunts them the most.” (via Kórima Press)
Katrina Vandenberg: “… This is a book about finding homes for ourselves—homes for our adult selves, even as complex memories of our childhood homes still live inside us; homes for our bodies; homes in the natural world. …” (via Headmistress Press)
“The poems in The Off-Season are populated with things—‘90s TV shows, mix-tapes, crosstown buses, winter beaches—signifiers that trace a trajectory from girlhood to adulthood and bring to the surface feelings and desires that ordinarily stay hidden. We witness the strangeness of modern life, relive our own adolescent awkwardness and listen in on conversations with dead poets, TV characters, family members and intimates. With humor, fierceness and generosity, The Off-Season grapples with the question of how to be in the world.” (via Four Way Books)
Torn from the Ear of Night by Jimmie Margaret Gilliam
Publisher: White Pine Press
Joan Murray describes it as a “balance between the child’s immediacy of experience and the adult’s analytical recollection” set in the Appalachian hills. (via Goodreads)