Monday, July 30, 2012

Poet Jennifer Key Wins 2012 Tampa Review Prize

Jennifer Key, of Pinehurst, North Carolina,  has been named winner of the 2012 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Key receives the eleventh annual prize for her manuscript entitled The Old Dominion. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes book publication in Spring 2013 by the University of Tampa Press. This will be Key’s first book.

 Jennifer Key teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where she serves as the editor of Pembroke Magazine. She was the 2006-2007 Diane Middlebrook Fellow at the University of Wisconsin and was educated at the University of Virginia where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. Her work has won the Poetry Center of Chicago’s Juried Reading, The Southwest Review’s McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Fiction, and Shenandoah’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Writers. Her poetry has appeared in The Antioch Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Callaloo, and elsewhere. 

Tampa Review judges commented that The Old Dominion “spoke to us with exceptional, insistent images and ideas—a collection of continuously engaging poems and peak experiences” in a “gorgeous debut collection.” 

“Key’s confident, self-assured voice guides the reader through both sweeping and specific landscapes,” the judges said. “The poet’s deft hand at her craft, and her keen, unexpected details make the reader perfectly comfortable on every plane.
“Yet, for all that confidence, Key reminds us that confidence and certainty are not dominion,” they wrote.  “A line from the last poem of the book reads, ‘Lord, can anyone rescue us from ourselves?’  The question remains unanswered, lingering in the reader’s mind. . . .  Fact is, the invention of everything in Key’s world—knowledge, identities, memories, even the invention of poems themselves—is under siege while safely protected in this poet’s immense talent.”

A selection of poems from The Old Dominion will appear as a “sneak preview” in one of the next issues of Tampa Review, the award-winning hardback literary journal published by the University of Tampa Press.  Key’s book will be published during National Poetry Month in April 2013 and launched with a reading tour of Florida sponsored by the Florida Literary Arts Coalition.

The judges also announced seven finalists:  
Amorak Huey of East Grand Rapids, Michigan, for “If the Devil Ever Asks”; 
James May of Decatur, Georgia, for “The Names We Give”; 
Doug Ramspeck of Lima, Ohio,  for “Original Bodies”; 
Thomas Rhinehart of Bellevue, Washington, for “A Shape Plans Faintly”;  
Anna Ross of Dorchester, Massachusetts, for “If Storm,”;  
J. D. Smith of Washington, D.C., for “The Killing Tree”; and 
Kathleen Spivack of Watertown, Massachusetts,  for “Their Tranquil Lives.”

This year the Tampa Review Prize judges also were given the opportunity to select a winning manuscript for a new book publication prize, the Anita Claire Scharf Award.  The announcement of that winner will be forthcoming within a few weeks.
The Tampa Review Prize for Poetry is given annually for a previously unpublished booklength manuscript. Judging is by the editors of Tampa Review, who are members of the faculty at the University of Tampa. Submissions are now being accepted for 2013. Entries must follow published guidelines and must be postmarked by December 31, 2012.

Complete 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.