Winners: 2019 Hillary Gravendyk Prize

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National Award: The Silk the Moths Ignore by Bronwen Tate  

Regional Award: Remyth: A Postmodernist Ritual by Adam Martinez

Judges Jessica Fisher and Megan Gravendyk-Estrella selected The Silk the Moths Ignore by Bronwen Tate, of Vermont, and Remyth: A Postmodernist Ritual by Adam Martinez, of Redlands, California, as winners of the 2019 Hillary Gravendyk Prize. Each winner will receive a $1000 prize and publication of their book in 2021.

The Silk the Moths Ignore, Fisher says, “chronicles both loss and joy in its peculiar, sensual language, all the while keeping its focus on the mind’s movement as it tracks that which is beyond or below attention, a ‘sea so calm we do not note the tide,’ in ‘a language no known mother tongued.’ Here is a poet who ignores nothing, whose description brings us into the immersive space of experiences that are not ours, but are nonetheless felt fully. The lived and the linguistic find a common articulation in this work, given that the ‘tongue is word and taste’; this is an exhilarating and perceptive book which values, as does Hillary Gravendyk’s own indelible work, the homes we make within both nature and language.”

Remyth: A Postmodernist Ritual, Gravendyk-Estrella comments, “explores the particular problem of disconnection and loneliness in modern times while retaining a core of relatable human heartache. While listing the many ways that social media, the news, and the current political climate can overwhelm, antagonize, and create anxiety, the author also acknowledges the age-old longing for love lost. Remyth explores classic questions of human frailty against a vibrant and buzzing backdrop of hyper-modern landscapes.”

Bronwen Tate, of Vermont, is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Marlboro College. A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Bronwen earned an MFA in literary arts from Brown University and a PhD in comparative literature from Stanford University. Her poems and essays have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Bennington Review, The Rumpus, and The Journal of Modern Literature. Her work has been supported by Stanford’s DARE (Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence) Dissertation Fellowship, as well as by fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center, and Vermont Studio Center.

Inland Empire native Adam Daniel Martinez first scraped his knee playing in his hometown of San Bernardino, California. Since then, as a first-generation Chicano college student, he has earned a dual MA/MFA in English and creative writing at Chapman University. Adam has written and performed music in the Inland Empire for over 15 years, most notably under the moniker Faimkills. He is the co-founder of Pour Vida, a digital literary zine. Currently, Adam teaches English at Chaffey College. He lives in Redlands, California with his wife and two cats, Virginia and Percival.

About the judges: Jessica Fisher is the author of Frail-Craft, which won the 2006 Yale Younger Poets Prize, and Inmost, which was awarded the 2011 Nightboat Poetry Prize. Megan Gravendyk-Estrella is a two time winner of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the author of the Seattle Young Playwrights prize-winning short play Good Evening Mrs. Gerfella.

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