University of Arkansas Press Announces Winner of $5,000 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize
Danielle Cadena Deulen wins the prize with her first book of poetryWednesday, July 07, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Danielle Cadena Deulen of Salt Lake City has won the University of Arkansas Press $5,000 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize for her poetry collection, Lovely Asunder. The book will be published in the spring of 2011.
Deulen's collection was selected by Enid Shomer, the press's Poetry Series editor, after the completion of a rigorous pre-screening process by a select group of published poets of the 700 manuscripts that had been submitted in the fall of 2009. Deulen said that when she found out she had won she was so astonished and grateful that I literally "hollered" into the phone I think that's the only way to say it. "I wrote the manuscript obsessively over a seven-year period, coming back to it again and again, trying to make it evolve in more interesting ways, so winning the prize felt much like completing a marathon like I'd finally arrived. I'm just so happy and thankful."
Deulen's Lovely Asunder has a clear surface, making it comfortably readable. But its greatest gift is its subtlety of observation and the almost magical use of detail. Her book is like an expensive perfume: it enchants and haunts us, hinting at the often dark sources of its power without fully disclosing them. Deulen never averts her gaze. She is the kind of steadfast poet who makes her readers braver.
Deulen received her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from George Mason University and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in English at the University of Utah. She was a Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has received three Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry prizes and a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship. This is her first book.
Photo courtesy Cloe Gibson
There was one finalist in this year's competition, Stephen Gibson, for his poetry collection, Paradise, and his book will be published in the spring of 2011 as well. Gibson sai his book "the third installment of a trilogy, after Masaccio's Expulsion and Frescoes, winner of the Lost Horse Press' 2009 poetry book prize, and I couldn't be happier that it will be appearing with the University of Arkansas Press. Thank you for making it part of the press' terrific poetry series."
Inspired largely by Italian Renaissance art, "Paradise" is not that static place you learned about in Sunday school. In poems that move easily between visual and verbal images, Gibson shows us a paradise that is roomy and inclusive, requiring more than anything the joy of being alive. But evil is here too, rendered just as uniquely and powerfully. His unsentimental yet poignant sequence about early 20th century crime photographs is nothing short of amazing.
Stephen Gibson is the author of three previous poetry collections, Frescoes; Masaccio's Expulsion; and Rorschach Art. He is a past Individual Artist Fellowship recipient from the state of Florida in both poetry and fiction. His poems and short stories have appeared in numerous journals, and in the anthologies Don't Leave Hungry: Fifty Years of Southern Poetry Review (published by the University of Arkansas) and High Five: An Anthology of Fiction from Ten Years of Five Points.
The University of Arkansas Press has been publishing poetry ever since Miller Williams became the press first director 30 years ago. After his retirement from the press, poet Enid Shomer became the editor of the Poetry Series. But the press had never had a monetary prize for its poetry. Thanks to a benefit concert by Lucinda Williams and help from the university, the press was able to create an endowment that made the annual $5,000 prize possible.
The inaugural winner was Michael Walsh for his collection, The Dirt Riddles. Noted poet Paul Zimmer said about Walsh's book: "What a way to initiate the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize, a series honoring one of our best American poets, by introducing an important new talent."
The press will have a launch for Lovely Asunder and Paradise at the annual conference for Associated Writing Programs to be held in Washington, D.C., in February of next year. The poets will do signings in the press' booth.
Melissa King, marketing manager
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