The 2014 Uppercut Chapbook Award Results
Phew! What a contest. So much work, fun and heartbreak all rolled into one. But, as is the case with every contest, entries were narrowed down. For the Uppercut Awards, we trimmed 110 entries down to 12 finalists. Below, we are pleased to announce our winners with a selection from their winning book followed by a list of the additional finalists. So, without further ado, here are the results.
County Fair Grab Bag by Scott Silsbe
Rhizoma by Erica Hoffmeister
Timberland by Jim Davis
The Skinned Bird by Chelsea Biondolillo
A Small Pressure by Kara Vernor
Love and Sundries by Nicholas Reading
The Cube and Other Flashlings by Robin Thorne
Pretty Names for Prison by Kevin McGowan
His Winter Beast by Andrew Gottlieb
Desert Sacrament by Cody Deitz
The Bear Who Ate the Stars by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach
Ice Children by Ed Harkness
Sometimes I worry
about resilience – the body’s
or even just the hands’. Yours,
which press wood
between heavy palms, are coarser
than the firmest working man’s.
Do they make hands
strong enough to bear the weight
of human nature, of the hours
in the longest day?
And if your lungs
are so laden with saw dust
that each exhale smells of cedar
and echoes its breaking and mending,
what are your hands made of then
that they can keep the weighted body
coming home, day after day, the snap
of a trunk still fixed
to your breath?
The same crack and fracture
hidden in your sturdy fingers,
that faint resilience
you are so sure of –
until I lean on your shoulder
and it breaks: an ageless tree
by a summer swallow’s soft landing.
That small word came to you by some odd
synaptic path. A meteoroid skipped off
your atmosphere, some bit of stellar shrapnel
from so far away “far away” means nothing.
It might have been the thread of fire
just over the ridge, caught in the corner
of your jaded eye, extinguished
by the time you grabbed its tail.
That led to other kinds of flare-ups:
a conflagration of roses out back,
bursting overnight, gaudy and heartbreaking
for reasons reasonable to you alone.
You were there. By Wednesday
they had fallen, one brown petal after another,
like burnt potato chips on the lawn.
Like ash. Then there was the heat you felt
at thirteen, lying on the dock,
nettles of lake water pricking your back.
You still see, under your splayed elbow,
through wet lashes, a prismatic world.
You still see the down on her arm, small
swellings through her thin green suit
pressed against the boards.
That’s when, as night fell, you understood
the ache of life. She grabbed your wrist. Wow,
she said. Shooting star. You missed it. Years travel
quicker than tonight's grain of iron sparking
off the ridge. Her name – Meredith – streaks back
with the plash of ducks paddling in the dark.
She’s that half-second flash of fire returned
from space deep in your aging brain, rendered,
as she has surely ended, as you will end, as ash.
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach came to the United States as a Jewish refugee in 1993, from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is currently a Benjamin Franklin Fellow in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature Ph.D. program. For her poetry, Julia has been awarded Lilith Magazine’s 2013 Charlotte A. Newberger Poetry Prize and the 2014 William Carlos Williams prize from the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry is forthcoming from Tupelo Quarterly and has most recently appeared Nashville Review, Guernica, and JMMW, among other journals, and Julia is the Editor of Construction Magazine.
Ed Harkness is the author of two full-length collections of poems, Saying the Necessary, 2000, and Beautiful Passing Lives, 2010, both from Pleasure Boat Studio press. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana, where he studied with poets Richard Hugo and Madeline DeFrees. His poems have appeared in print and online journals, including Fine Madness, Great River Review, The Humanist, The Louisville Review, Midwest Quarterly, Mudlark, Switched-On Gutenberg, and The Salt River Review. He lives with his wife, Linda, in Shoreline, Washington.