Friday, August 28, 2015

Michelle Boisseau Wins 14th Annual
Tampa Review Prize for Poetry

Michelle Boisseau
     Michelle Boisseau, of Kansas City, Missouri, has been named winner of the 2015 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Boisseau receives the fourteenth annual prize for her new manuscript, Among the Gorgons. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes hardback and trade paperback book publication in 2016 by the University of Tampa Press.
     Boisseau’s previous books of poetry include A Sunday in God-Years (University of Arkansas Press, 2009); Trembling Air (University of Arkansas Press, 2003), a PEN USA finalist; Understory, which received the Morse Prize (Northeastern University Press, 1996); and No Private Life (Vanderbilt, 1990). She has also twice been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.
     Tampa Review judges commented that the poems in Among the Gorgons make “graceful and unexpected leaps from personal to mythic, tender to satiric, and tragic to comic in poems that elude predictability and command attention.”
     “The voice constantly surprises us with strength in unexpected places,” the judges said. “Boisseau shapes irony into an energetic force. Best of all, the poems work individually—they satisfy and stand fully on their own—while at the same time gathering force and resonance as the book moves confidently into a whole that is greater than its parts.”
     Three of the poems from Among the Gorgons have appeared on Poetry Daily. Other new poems have appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Yale Review, Hudson Review, Shenandoah, Cincinnati Review, Missouri, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, Miramar, New Ohio Review, and others.
     Boisseau earned BA and MA degrees from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Houston. She is Professor of English in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she is also Senior Editor of BkMk Press and Contributing Editor of New Letters. Her university textbook, Writing Poems (Longman), initiated by the late Robert Wallace, is now in its eighth edition, with her colleague Hadara Bar-Nadav. She lives in Kansas City with her fellow Royals fan, her husband Tom Stroik, an internationally renowned linguist who writes on poetics, syntax, and the evolution of human language.
     Boisseau says that she nearly missed the contest deadline with her manuscript.
     “I believe I sent my manuscript at almost the last minute,” she says. “We had been in California visiting friends and family at Christmas. We got in late on the afternoon of December 31, and before we headed out the door for a New Year’s dinner celebration with friends, I managed to take a few minutes to get Among the Gorgons submitted. I pushed myself to take the chance, and what a fabulous result.”

The judges also announced twelve outstanding finalists this year:

     Ron De Maris of Miami, Florida, for “Spoor”;
     Diane Glancy of Shawnee Mission, Kansas, for “The Collector of Bodies”;
     Julie Hanson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for “Charmed in What Regard”;
     Jared Harel of Astoria, New York, for “Punch Card”;
     Berwyn Moore of Erie, Pennsylvania, for “What the Wind Said”;
     Brianna Noll of Chicago, Illinois, for “What Breaks through the Dark”;
     Katherine Riegel of Tampa, Florida, for “Kites Almost Too Strong to Hold”;
     Daniel Saalfeld of Washington, D.C.,  for “Sweet Tooth”;
     Phillip Sterling of Ada, Michigan, for “Some Play of Light”;
     Daneen Wardrop of Kalamazoo, Michigan, for “Stir the Lake”;
     Scott Withiam of Marblehead, Massachusetts, for “Desperate Acts & Deliveries”;  and
     Al Zolynas of Escondido, California, for “Near and Far: Selected and New Poems.”

     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 2016. Entries must follow published guidelines and must be postmarked by December 31, 2015.
     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.

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