2019 was a tough one–we had scores of entries, all powerful, wonderful poems. After narrowing it down to our top 20, the lovely Jenn Givhan plucked our winner and runners up from the list. A big round of applause and thank you to all of the brave poets who submitted their work; we appreciate you all so much!

2019 Winner: Leila Chatti, “Confession”

About Leila Chatti:
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of Deluge, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020, and the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, 2018) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors’ Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, The Frost Place, and the Key West Literary Seminar, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Cleveland State University, where she is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems appear in Ploughshares, Tin House, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

A note on the winner from 2019 judge Jenn Givhan:
“Confession,” gripped me with its revisioning of Mary as a woman with hopes and dreams and fears and pains of her own, outside of the patriarchy and its “boy-God pushing / on her cervix.” This Mary speaks to women’s autonomy and voices and choices for their own bodies–and is one I could light an altar candle to in times of need. Atop its powerful message, this poem is beautifully crafted, its imagery and gesture will stick with me, “her small hands on her knees / not doves but hands, gripping.” I appreciate this poem that centers childbirth and even as it takes a Holy Mother from her pedestal, manages still to upraise all women.

2019 Runners up:

Alison Pelegrin, “Our Lady of the Flood”

Daniel Schonning, “Muna”

Jen Stewart Fueston, “Upon Seeing a Photograph of Christine Blasey Ford”

Past Winners

The 2018 Wolverine Farm Broadside Prize Winner, “We Live Our Lives Through Other People’s Bodies” by Derek Mong.