Sean Bishop and Jesse Lee Kercheval, Series Editors
This series includes:
The Brittingham Prize in Poetry
The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
The Four Lakes Prize in Poetry
The Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation
Currently, the University of Wisconsin Press seeks to publish a minimum of seven poetry titles each year as part of the Wisconsin Poetry Series. Works are chosen for publication following an open reading period (submissions are accepted between July 15 and September 15) for the poetry prizes awarded by the Press.
The Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry, along with the Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation, are awarded annually. They are selected by a guest judge following an initial screening process conducted by coeditors Sean Bishop and Jesse Lee Kercheval in conjunction with the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The winner of each prize receives $1,000 and the publication of their work by the University of Wisconsin Press.
The Brittingham Prize in Poetry was founded in 1985 with the help of grants from the Brittingham Trust. Administered by the UW Foundation, the trust was established in 1924 by the wills of lumber baron Thomas Evans Brittingham Sr. and his wife, activist Mary Clark Brittingham, to benefit the University.
The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry was founded in 1994 with the help of a bequest from Sara Pollak. The prize honors her husband, Felix, a major Wisconsin poet and former curator of the Rare Book Room and Little Magazine Collection in the UW–Madison Libraries.
The Four Lakes Prize in Poetry may be awarded annually to a collection of poetry submitted by a previous winner of either the Brittingham or Felix Pollak prizes. Recipients are selected by the coeditors of the Wisconsin Poetry Series with input from screeners and faculty in the Creative Writing Program at UW–Madison.
The Wisconsin Prize for Poetry in Translation was founded in 2022 to cater to the readers, poets, and editors who want to read poetry written across the world. It aims to be one small part of breaking down the language barriers that divide us and help make work written in other languages visible to a wider public.
Priority for publication apart from the prizes is given to titles selected as honorable mention by that year’s judge or otherwise deemed to be exceptional by the series coeditors and screening committee.
“The mouth, tongue, and hand feature prominently in Hernández’s collection. Indeed, these compelling poems kiss and bite, tell startling secrets and whisper with affection. They sometimes caress and sometimes strike. What he so eloquently calls ‘the language of grief’ pulses at the body’s intersection of language and desire, ethnicity and sexuality, vulnerable youth and empowered adulthood. What a stunning debut. —Rigoberto González
“From the brilliant mind of Nick Lantz, this expansive collection thrives in dissonance, pinging from politics, climate, the pandemic, and cancer to pop culture and the small banalities of daily life in America. Both scathing and tender, always surprising, these poems ripped my heart out. —Cynthia Marie Hoffman, author of Exploding Head
“Coutley’s riveting new collection spirals around the complexities of host as multitude or throng, host as spiritual sustenance, host as living organism upon which a parasite lives. These poems, dazzling in their heartbreak, slice themselves open along the razor’s edge of risk and tenderness. Here, patriarchal violence and the desire to subjugate women are paralleled by the deliberate ecocide of the Anthropocene. Here, the desires and impossibilities of nurturing are pitted against the desires and impossibilities of the synthetic object. These are unforgettable, achingly gorgeous, sunflower-studded poems that ‘scream for a brightness none of us can hold.’ —Lee Ann Roripaugh, author of Tsunami vs. the Fukushima 50
“Like a new angel of history, The Story of Your Obstinate Survival arrives with its wings heavy with live fish and doorknobs, shovels and bone cake, faith and desire. Khalastchi has turned the poem into a long, beautiful wail, soft and brilliant enough for even Babel and Kafka and Singer to hear. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out Khalastchi feeds each poem by hand, and brushes nightly their wings. With as much abandon as with hope, these poems sway on the edge of a miracle. —Sabrina Orah Mark