The editors are pleased to announce that Poetry Judge Ellen Doré Watson has chosen Fay Dillof’s poem “Dear You” as this year’s Dogwood Literary Award in Poetry. Ms. Dillof will receive $1,000 and her poem will be published in Dogwood’s 2020 edition. Finalists for the prize were Jennifer Barber, Kosrof Chantikian, Veronica Kornberg, Jackleen Holton, McKenzie Hurder, Steve Lautermilch, George Looney, Tara Mesalik MacMahon, Kevin McLellan, xiao yue shan, Tori Sharpe, Bret Shepard, Jessie Sobey, and Diana Woodcock, each of whose work will also appear in Dogwood 2020, due out in late May.
In her citation choosing Dillof’s poem, “Dear You,” Judge Ellen Doré Watson wrote, “‘I love when a poem sneaks up on its revelation, as this one does—seemingly innocent of where it’s headed on the winding path from past to present, in which the spilling and spooling syntax carries us along, and the voice turns ever more intimate. “Dear You” passes my highest poem-test, delivering both intentionality and surprise. The poet’s masterful use of dashes and white space convey the breathlessness and urgency of each quiet outburst, taking us through poignancy to discovery and finally—in the bravest, most unexpected move of all—to gentle humor. Not only did this poem rise to the top of the pile, but it makes me hungry for more of Fay Dillof’s work.”
Fay Dillof lives in Northern California where she works as a psychotherapist. A graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers, and a recipient of scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference., her work has appeared in FIELD, New Ohio Review, Sugar House Review, Green Mountain Review, Barrow Street, Tupelo Quarterly, Spillway, Mid-American Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Fay wishes she could find the exact quote in which Marguerite Duras says something akin to “No matter what I say, I will never discover why I write, nor how others do not write.”
The editors thank the more than 300 poets who entered the contest, and encourage all poets to consider entering again in the late summer, when submissions reopen. Please return to this site in the coming weeks to learn the winners of the 2020 Dogwood Literary Awards in Fiction and Nonfiction.