Friday, September 28, 2018

Michael Lavers Wins 2018 Tampa Review Prize

Utah Poet Michael Lavers
Michael Lavers, of Provo, Utah, has won the 2018 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry for his first book of poems, After Earth. In addition to a $2,000 check, the award includes hardback and paperback book publication in 2019 by the University of Tampa Press.

Poems by Lavers have appeared in Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, The Hudson Review, Best New Poets 2015, TriQuarterly, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He has been awarded the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize, the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize, and the Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets.

Tampa Review judges praised his manuscript for its lyricism and intelligence:

After Earth constructs a fascinating perspective on our planet and our lives. On one hand it is tender, personal, and intimate—a father singing a lovely lullaby for his newborn infant—and on another it is breathtakingly cosmic, detached, and nearly post-apocalyptic—looking at Earth as a blip in a science fiction spacetime multiverse unfolding in terms of light years and infinite distances. The author draws from a reservoir of scientific, theological, and literary sources to build a structure for the book with something of the architectural strength and uplifting decorative beauty of a gothic cathedral.”

Lavers earned his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. He continued his education to complete an MFA at Johns Hopkins, and PhD at the University of Utah. Together with his wife, the writer and artist Claire Ã…kebrand, and their two children, he now lives in Provo, Utah, and teaches poetry at Brigham Young University.

Lavers says that the poems in this first book were written in a variety of circumstances.

”Most of the poems in After Earth were written while I was learning how to be a father,” Lavers explains, ”and so they are fueled by all the anxiety and fear, and joy and bliss, that come with that new life. They were written sometimes at home, sometimes at school or work, but also at playgrounds and parks, coming as hasty and distracted drafts while my two small kids clambered up and down slides or chased ducks. I admit to spending many hours early in the morning at McDonald's—because there was nowhere else to go—polishing what lines and stanzas I could before going home to parent, and felt somewhat reassured when I learned that for many years Harper Lee also had a regular booth at her local Golden Arches.”

“I wanted these poems to convey to my kids what really matters to me, what I would want them to know or think or feel about the world. If the book has a central tension or concern, I hope it is invoked by the title: the impulse to simply record this earth—to praise all we can, as Auden says, ‘for being and for happening’—as well as to consider what is coming next, what we might hope for, what we will miss.”
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This year the judges also announced ten finalists:

Heather Altfeld, of Chico, California, for "Selected Obituaries and Autopsies”;

William Greenway, of Ephrata, Penn., for “Everything We Bring, All We Leave Behind”;

Hunt Hawkins, of Temple Terrace, Florida, for “The Young-Old Life”;

V. P. Loggins, of Annapolis, Maryland, for “The Wild Severance”;

Sarah Fawn Montgomery, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, for “The Intimacy of Survival”;

Emily Mohn-Slate, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for “The Falls”;

Peter Munro, of Kenmore, Washington, for “Fisheries Science in The North Pacific”;

William Notter, of Richmond, Virginia, for “Buying the Farm”;

Brian Simoneau, of West Hartford, Connecticut, for “No Small Comfort”; and

Ross White, of Durham, North Carolina, for “Guilt Ledger.”

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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 2019. Entries should follow the published guidelines and must be received online or postmarked by December 31, 2018.

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.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hannah Weyer Garners
12th Annual Danahy Fiction Prize

Hannah Weyer, winner of The Danahy Fiction Prize

     Hannah Weyer, a writer and filmmaker from Brooklyn, N.Y., is the winner of the twelfth annual Danahy Fiction Prize, judged by the editors of Tampa Review. She receives a cash award of $1,000, and her winning short story, “Sanctuary City,” will be published in the forthcoming Fall/Winter issue of Tampa Review.

     Weyer's debut novel, On the Come Up, received a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers award in 2013 and was an NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author.

     She has also written, directed, and produced narrative and documentary films screened at MoMA, Sundance, the New York Film Festival, and others around the world. Her films have won numerous recognitions, including awards from Sundance, Doubletake Documentary, and South by Southwest Film Festivals. Her documentaries have aired on PBS as part of the POV-American Documentary series and her screenwriting credits include work that premiered on HBO, including Life Support, starring Queen Latifah.

     “The idea for ‘Sanctuary City’ came to me after a subway commute and an overheard conversation—three boys on a train discussing a violent altercation,” Weyer says. “Around this same time, a family friend had been in a schoolyard fight, which was recorded, then posted on YouTube.”

     “As a subway rider,” Weyer explains, “I am constantly reminded to be vigilant in the face of unforeseen dangers relating to global terror, a reminder that brings with it a certain level of helplessness and fear. I began to think about the connection between helplessness caused by imagined scenarios of future violence with the helplessness and fear caused by day-to-day, street-level violence. Can helplessness be transformed into something else? If so, how?”

     Tampa Review judges praised Weyer for portraying complex and fully realized characters as they struggle not only with violence, but with their own generational and cultural gaps.

     “Weyer’s story is perceptive and timely,” said Tampa Review editor Richard Mathews. “The central character, Esme, is an honest, hard-working immigrant who finds she is under assault—her family and her values are being literally and figuratively ‘gunned down.’ It leaves a reader troubled by uncertainy and wrestling with injustice, but also deeply filled with greater empathy.”

     Weyer offers insights informed by close observation and experience. An advocate for youth, she has volunteered in New York at The Door, Scenarios USA, and Reel Works where she works with teens in the media arts. She also teaches screenwriting at Columbia University.

     “She vividly describes the New York settings, the subway scene, and the challenging situations that the young people confront—one in high school; one as a junior college dropout,” Mathews says. “She has a cinematic eye for detail and a fantastic ear for dialog.”

     This year Tampa Review judges also named five Danahy Prize Finalists:

Halvor Aakhus, of Columbia, Missouri, for “Two Women, One Gay Viking”;

Sally Lipton Derringer, of Nanuet, New York, for “Medals”;

Liana Jahan Imam, of Missoula, Montana, for “Tore a Hole in the World What Did You Expect”;

Raven Leilani of Corona, New York, for “The Void Witch”; and

Giovanna Varella of Kissimmee, Florida, for “Local Girls, 2001.”

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     The Danahy Fiction Prize was established by Paul and Georgia Danahy as an annual award for a previously unpublished work of short fiction judged by the editors of Tampa Review, the faculty-edited literary journal of the University of Tampa, which is published twice yearly in a distinctive hardback format. Subscriptions are $25 annually, and subscriptions received by the end of August will begin with the issue featuring Weyer’s prize-winning story.

     The Danahy Fiction Prize is open to both new and widely published writers, with an annual postmark deadline of December 31. The $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Tampa Review, and all entries submitted are considered for publication.

     Complete guidelines are available on the Web at or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to The Danahy Fiction Prize, University of Tampa Press, 401 West Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606.

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Enjoy the first decade of Danahy Fiction Prize stories in