Out of nearly 1,000 entrants, Caitlin Roach has been selected as the winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and Eduardo Martínez-Leyva has been named the winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. Additionally, Peter Covino has been selected as the winner of the second annual Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation, for his translation of Dario Bellezza’s work. Each will receive $1,500, and their collections will be published this fall by the University of Wisconsin Press.
In addition, Emily Bludworth de Barrios has been named winner of the Four Lakes Prize in Poetry, and her collection will be published next spring, alongside finalist collections by Hedgie Choi, Caroline M. Mar, and Felicia Zamora.
Amaud Jamaul Johnson served as this year’s judge for the Brittingham and Felix Pollak prizes. Born and raised in Compton, California, he is the author of three poetry collections, Red Summer, Darktown Follies, and Imperial Liquor. He is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford, MacDowell Fellow, and Cave Canem Fellow, and his honors include the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Dorset Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, New York Times Magazine, Lit Hub, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. He is currently the Knight Family Professor of Creative Writing at Stanford University. His most recent collection, Imperial Liquor, was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2021 UNT Rilke Prize.
Geoffrey Brock served as the judge for this year’s Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation. He is the author of three books of poems, the editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry, and the translator of various books of poetry, prose, and comics, most recently Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Allegria, which received ALTA’s National Translation Award for Poetry. His other awards include the Raiziss/de Palchi Book Prize, the MLA Lois Roth Award, the PEN Center USA Translation Prize, and Poetry magazine’s John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Cullman Center, the NEA, and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches in the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing & Translation, where he is the founding editor of the Arkansas International.
Caitlin Roach’s collection, Surveille, has been awarded the Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Roach is a queer poet from Southern California. A three-time National Poetry Series finalist, her poems have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Tin House, jubilat, The Iowa Review, Poetry Daily, Colorado Review, and Best New Poets (2023, 2021, and 2017), among others. She earned an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two sons.
Eduardo Martínez-Leyva’s collection, Cowboy Park, has been awarded the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. Martínez-Leyva was born in El Paso, Texas, to Mexican immigrants. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Boston Review, The Adroit Journal, Frontier Poetry, The Hopkins Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from CantoMundo, the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Lambda Literary Foundation, along with a teaching fellowship from Columbia University, where he earned his MFA. He was the writer-in-residence at St. Alban’s School for Boys in Washington, DC, and teaches and resides in New York City.
Peter Covino’s translation of What Sex Is Death: Selected Poems of Dario Bellezza has been awarded the Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation. Covino’s translation work has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Richmond American International University of London, Rome Programme. After a fourteen-year career as a social worker in the fields of AIDS services and foster care, Covino is an associate professor of English in the PhD Program at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in contemporary poetry, translation, and ethnic studies. He is also a well-published scholar, poet, editor, and author, with works that include a coedited essay collection on Italian American literature and the prize-winning poetry books The Right Place to Jump and Cut Off the Ears of Winter (2007 PEN-American Osterweil Award). Covino is the founding editor and faculty advisor of the Ocean State Review, and since 1998 a founding editor-trustee of the nonprofit press Barrow Street Inc.
Dario Bellezza (1944–96) was Italy’s first openly gay, major prize-winning poet-novelist-playwright, who died a premature death of AIDS-related complications. Over the course of a twenty-five-year career, he publishedmore than twenty books, including eight full-length poetry collections, eight novels, two plays, translations from the French, and nonfiction. Twentieth-century Italian and American literary luminaries Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alberto Moravia, Elsa Morante, Gregory Corso, and Allen Ginsberg, among others, championed his work. Significantly, Bellezza’s literary career extends two decades beyond Pasolini’s death, and he embraced his identity as an out gay man in an era of increased polemicizing of gay rights and harsh opposition by the Vatican. The sheer variety of forms, from epigram to brash love-lyric to sustained political narrative, coupled with the fervor of Bellezza’s voice make a compelling argument for his lasting importance among the best poets of the second half of the twentieth century.
Emily Bludworth de Barrios’s collection Rich Wife has been awarded the Four Lakes Prize in Poetry. Bludworth de Barrios is a poet whose previous book, Shopping, or The End of Time, received the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in publications such as Harvard Review, Copper Nickel, The Poetry Review, and Oxford Poetry. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and also holds degrees from Goldsmiths College and the College of William & Mary. She was raised in Houston, Cairo, and Caracas, and now lives in both Houston, Texas, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.
Hedgie Choi, author of the collection Salvage, received her MFA in poetry from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin and her MFA in fiction from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Her poetry can be found in Poetry, Catapult, West Branch, and elsewhere. Her fiction can be found in Noon, American Short Fiction, The Hopkins Review, and elsewhere. She cotranslated Hysteria by Kim Yideum, which won the 2020 Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize and the 2020 National Translation Award. Her translation of Pillar of Books by Moon Bo Young was published by Black Ocean in 2021.
Caroline M. Mar, author of the collection Water Guest, is the great-granddaughter of a railroad laborer and the author of Special Education and the chapbook Dream of the Lake. A high school health educator in her hometown of San Francisco, she is getting to know her new home of Oakland. Mar is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, an alumna of VONA, and a member of Rabble Collective. She has been granted residencies at Storyknife, Ragdale, and Hedgebrook, among others.
Felicia Zamora’s collection Interstitial Archaeology will be released next spring. Zamora is the author of six books of poetry, including Quotient; I Always Carry My Bones, winner of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2022 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry; Body of Render, Benjamin Saltman Award winner; and Of Form & Gather, Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize winner. She won the 2022 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize from The Georgia Review, a 2022 Tin House Next Book Residency, and a 2022 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2022, Boston Review, Ecotone, The Georgia Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, Orion, Poetry Magazine, The Nation, West Branch, and others. She is an associate professor of poetry at the University of Cincinnati and a poetry editor for the Colorado Review.
Submissions for the next competition will be accepted between July 15 and September 15, 2024.
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For more information on the Wisconsin Poetry Prizes, please visit https://uwpress.wisc.edu/series/wi-poetry.html.