Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Benjamin S. Grossberg Wins

2008 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry

Poet Benjamin S. Grossberg of Clayton, Ohio, has won the 2008 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. He receives a $1,000 cash award and book publication by the University of Tampa Press for his winning manuscript, Sweet Core Orchard. His book will be released simultaneously in hardback and quality paperback editions in early 2009.

Grossberg, who taught creative writing and English poetry for the past eight years at Antioch College, until its closing this summer, is a self-confessed apple-lover. He planted his own small orchard—mostly Granny Smiths—at his home in Ohio, calling it “Sweet Core Orchard,” a name that became the title of what will now be his prize-winning second book of poetry.
This summer Grossberg will have to leave his orchard, carrying with him his prize-winning book title and the hope to plant again in the future. With Antioch College now closed, he is moving from Ohio to Hartford, Connecticut, where he will be starting in the fall as an assistant professor teaching creative writing and poetry at the University of Hartford.

His first book, Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath, winner of the 2005 Snyder Prize, was published by Ashland Poetry Press in 2007, receiving high praise from poets and critics including Richard Howard, who wrote, “I rejoice that these poems are in the world of American letters.” Grossberg’s poems have also appeared widely in literary journals, including Paris Review, Southwest Review, North American Review, and in The Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First 30 Years of the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook, The Auctioneer Bangs his Gavel, was published by Kent State in 2006.

Tampa Review judges praised Grossberg’s book for its “compelling affirmation of the longer poem” in a manuscript impressive for “brilliant lyrical and thematic arcs, rich use of archetype and symbol, and heartening honesty.”

“Grossberg leads us through gorgeous rhapsodies recalling livestock auctions, cornfields, sex parties, and family rooms,” the judges wrote. “We are neither overly indulged nor left wandering without a host. . . . We leave satisfied and dazzled.”

A selection of poems from the forthcoming book will appear as a “sneak preview” in the fall/winter issue of Tampa Review, the award-winning hardback literary journal published by the University of Tampa Press. His book is scheduled for release in early 2009.

Judges of the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry also identified fourteen finalists for the 2008 prize. They are:

Harry Bauld of New York, New York, for “Somebody Else’s Tune”;
Earl Sherman Braggs of Chattanooga, Tennessee, for “Younger Than Neil”;
Joanne Childers of Gainesville, Florida, for “Kumquats”;
Ruth Moon Kempher of St. Augustine, Florida, for “Times Ago, Gone Dreaming”;
Frannie Lindsay of Belmont, Massachusetts, for “Brushing My Father’s Hair”;
James McKean of Iowa City, Iowa, for “We Are the Bus”;
Erika Meitner of Blacksburg, Virginia, for “The Contact Notes”;
Mark Neely of Muncie, Indiana, for “Dogs of Indiana”;
William Orem of Waltham, Massachusetts, for “Our Purpose in Speaking”;
Jonathan B. Rice of Richmond, Virginia, for “The Forgetting Body”;
Don Schofield of Thessaloniki, Greece, for “Before Kodachrome”;
Jay Udall of Reno, Nevada, for “The Welcome Table”;
Jeanine Walker of Houston, Texas, for “Water Beneath the Foundation”; and
Linda Stern Zisquit of Jerusalem, Israel, for “Porous.”

The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry is given annually for a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. Submissions are now being accepted for 2009. Entries must follow published guidelines and must be postmarked by December 31, 2008.
Guidelines are available at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.