Announcing the Winner and Finalists and Semi-Finalists of the 2017 42 Miles Press Poetry Award

As usual, there were many powerful manuscripts to choose from this year, but we are delighted to announce that Mary Ann Samyn has won the 2017 42 Miles Press Poetry Award for her manuscript, Air, Light, Dust, Shadow, Distance. The award includes a $1,000 prize in addition to the publication of her book by 42 Miles Press in September 2018. Mary Ann will give a reading at Indiana University South Bend upon publication (most likely in October, 2017). Congratulations, Mary Ann!

Some info about Mary Ann Samyn:

Mary Ann Samyn is the author of five full-length collections of poetry—My Life in Heaven, winner of the 2012 FIELD Poetry Prize (Oberlin College Press, 2013), Beauty Breaks In (New Issues, 2009), Purr (New Issues, 2005), Inside the Yellow Dress (New Issues, 2001), and Captivity Narrative (Ohio State UP, 1999)—and two chapbooks—The Boom of a Small Cannon (Dancing Girl Press, 2010) and Rooms by the Sea (Kent State UP, 1994). Her poems have appeared in Field, Colorado Review, Kenyon Review, The Ohio Review, The Journal, Third Coast, Verse, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She received her MA from Ohio University and her MFA from The University of Virginia where she was a Hoyns Fellow. Among her awards are a creative artist grant from ArtServe Michigan, the Emily Dickinson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review, and a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at West Virginia University. She is Professor of English at West Virginia University where she also directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Two sample poems from the winning manuscript:


Walking in the dawn fog, considering grief.
Especially the grief of what others desire on our behalf.
The long distance of that. The delicate burden.
When did I give up the idea I began with?
I recall learning endurance: my face in that mirror.
Saints are famous for what they have renounced.
That’s not what I mean or need.
The rose bushes I planted: will they be the thing?
Sometimes loneliness overcomes me.
Childhood too: what was that all about?
The interior life is life. The roses live there.
I notice as many times a day as it takes.


—are two separate things, like light and warmth.
March now. New snow. And, back at home,
familiar intimacies make themselves felt.
The lyric, the wisdom goes, is loss and longing;
some of us have called the latter hope.
A poem brought me to tears. Then, your note.
It’s possible I had asked for too much.
For a few days I had a view. Other lives.
An island at some distance.
I looked and looked. I cared and didn’t.
I held the edge of the curtain—blue maybe—in my hand.

And here is the list of finalists (with top ten runners-up indicated by an *):

I am Trying to Remember – Charissa Menefee
Rules for Rearrangement – Julie Babcock
*I Love You But I Don’t Speak Your Language – Jason Bredle
*The Chalk Line – Susan Sonde
*Glass is Glass Water is Water – Rae Gouirand
*Elsewhere, that Small – Monica Berlin
Little Room, Small Ground – Monica Berlin
Future Erstwhile Century – Bill Rasmovicz
A Girl Could Disappear Like This – Deborah Schwartz
A Theory for What Just Happened – Laurie Blauner
brightness this – Franciszka Voeltz
Posthumous Noon – Aaron Baker – 231
*You are Still Alive – William Stobb
In Migration – Kimberly Kruge
*American Oak — Jake Young
*The Failure of My Music—Robert Evory
Repeater – Michael Peterson
With Love, Etcetera – Michael Robins
Almost a Member of the Family – Margo Mensing
Polyvalence – Jayson Iwen
Superstition Freeway – Miles Waggener
Under A Hill – Mary B. Leader
Days Since a Lost Time Accident – Steve Bellin-Oka
Temple of Bureaucratic Kindness – Brad Johnson
Covenant – Maureen Mulhern
*House is an Enigma – Emma Bolden
*Country House – Sarah Barber
*Go Because I Love You – Jared Harel
The Three-Legged World – Peter Grandbois

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