Orison Books is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize, selected by Carl Phillips in a blind judging process, is Carly Joy Miller for her manuscript Ceremonial. Miller will receive a $1,500 honorarium and publication by Orison Books.
“The poems of Ceremonial disturb in such a way as to make us entirely rethink who we are, and where. Ceremonial offers a post-apocalyptic landscape to be navigated by poems that together become a moral compass—the compass Protean, however, ever-shifting, maybe trustworthy, and maybe not. Here, to bless a thing can mean to put an axe to it; the impulse to save what’s broken competes with an impulse to look indifferently away from it; the topography is one of damage—accident or what only looks, or is meant to look, like accident. And yet there is tenderness, too, and vulnerability. The poems variously revel in, regret, and feel strange compassion for the beast of desire—of restlessness—inside us all: ‘Still I kiss/his jaw wild with yellow//jackets. I shepherd/too long in his furs.’ Part of the power of these poems is the coolness of their sensibility, a refusal to back entirely down: ‘Don’t blink in disbelief,’ we’re told at one point, ‘Kill from the chandelier with a pearl strand. Swing the lights.’ I stand persuaded.”
-Carl Phillips, judge of the 2017 Orison Poetry Prize
Carly Joy Miller‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Blackbird, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, West Branch, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor for Poetry International and a founding editor of Locked Horn Press. Her chapbook, Like a Beast, was the winner of the 2016 Rick Campbell Prize and is forthcoming from Anhinga Press.
We are also happy to note the following finalists and semi-finalists:
Roughage by Leah Silvieus
Because the Film Was Blown Out with Light by Lia Greenwell
Naming the Lifeboat by Justin Gardiner
Variations on a Sacred Grove by M. Rather, Jr.
with the dogstar as my witness by John Fry
Walking Backward by Mitchell Untch
When the Sun Comes Mothering by Andrew Nicholson
Whoever Tells Me Not to Dive Headfirst Dove Headfirst and Knew the Taste by Marco Yan
The Union Terminal by Greg Allendorf
The Airplane in the Attic by Daniel Blokh
The Horse Who Bears Me Away by Jim Peterson
At the Edge of the Dirac Sea by Nina Pick
The Displaced Children of Displaced Children by Faisal Mohyuddin