2017 Dogwood Literary Prize Winners!

Dogwood 2017 is at the printer, and we are happy to announce the winners of this year’s prize, each of whose work will be featured in the magazine along with all finalists (see finalist listing by separate post).

This year’s Grand Prize Winner is Laura Read’s poem, “Margaret Corrine, Dunseith, North Dakota, 1932.” Laura received $1000, and her poem is published first in Dogwood 2017.

Of Read’s poem, Judge Michele Glazer wrote, “‘Margaret Corinne, Dunseith, North Dakota, 1932’ hooks me right away with the expanse and confidence of its imagination. The sweep of a lifetime is evoked through a few brilliant moments and details, and humor and pathos are drawn as part of a single broad stroke: ‘Don’t worry, they’ve still drawn your eyebrows on, / and now I must tell you . . . . , she put on a face / because when she was the girl in the photograph, / standing in the cold sunlight of Dunseith, North Dakota / at the age of three, a stern brother on either side, / she learned she was nothing.’ The poem is remarkable for its observant eye, its attentive heart, its supple edginess and subtle lyricism, and for how, without straining, the poem conveys how strange and mysterious a life is, even one that is familiar to you, and even one’s own.”

Grand Prize Winner Laura Read’s chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You, was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award, and her collection, Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral, was the 2011 winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her second collection, Dresses from the Old Country, will be published by BOA in fall of 2018. She teaches English at Spokane Falls Community College and currently serves as the poet laureate of Spokane.

Judge Sarah Einstein chose Natasha Sajé’s essay “Guilt: A Love Story” as the winner of this year’s First Prize in Nonfiction. Sajé received $250, and appears in Dogwood’s 2017 edition. Of the prizewinning essay, Judge Sarah Einstein wrote, “‘Guilt: A Love Story’ is a finely wrought consideration of what it means to survive the death and dying of those we love. Its genius is in its details: payment sent for life insurance, grapes withering in the crisper, a piece of garbage picked up off the street, red Naugahyde chairs at a spa in Jamaica. This specificity grounds the essay and gives context to the more abstract considerations of guilt that are nested inside the personal narrative. This essay does what the essay form does best; it invites us to consider, with the author, something central to our humanity and leaves us a little wiser, a little more thoughtful, when we are done.”

First Prize in Nonfiction Winner Natasha Sajé teaches at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program. She is the author of three books of poems, most recently Vivarium (Tupelo, 2014); a book of poetry criticism, Windows and Doors: A Poet Reads Literary Theory (Michigan, 2014); and many essays. http://www.natashasaje.com

Judge Karen Osborn chose J. Stillwell Powers’ story “Salvage” as the First Prize in Fiction in this year’s Dogwood Literary Prizes.  J. received $250 and his story appears  in Dogwood’s 2017 edition. Of the winning story, Judge Karen Osborn wrote, “I chose ‘Salvage’ for its lyrical and inventive use of language. The first person narrator uses this lyrical style to tell a gritty story that doesn’t sacrifice any of its realism for an easy ending. The last sentences resonated long after I’d finished reading.

First Prize Winner in Fiction J. Stillwell Powers was born and raised in Western Massachusetts. A graduate of Greenfield Community College, he went on to earn his B.A. in English from Amherst College, and his MFA in fiction from the University of Oregon. Publication with Dogwood is his first.

We thank our judges, Michele Glazer (Poetry), Sarah Einstein (Nonfiction), and Karen Osborn (Fiction) for their hard work in choosing the winners of this year’s Dogwood Literary Prizes, and thank all entrants for their submissions. As we’ve done in the past, we asked each genre judge to choose a First Prize in their genre. Then the three judges deliberated in order to choose among these three a single Grand Prize Winner. In addition to the prize winner in each genre, we publish the work of all finalists; their work comprises all remaining selections included in Dogwood 2017 and may therefore be found in the table of contents by genre. The portal for the 2018 prize will open July 1st, and we encourage all interested writers to visit our website at http://www.dogwoodliterary.com.

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