2019 42 Miles Press Poetry Award Winner

As usual, there were many powerful manuscripts to choose from this year, but we are delighted to announce that Bryce Berkowitz has won the 2019 42 Miles Press Poetry Award for his manuscript, Bermuda Ferris Wheel. The award includes a $1,000 prize in addition to the publication of his book by 42 Miles Press in October, 2020. Bryce will give a reading at Indiana University South Bend upon publication (most likely in October, 2020). Congratulations, Bryce! Some info about Bryce Berkowitz:

Bryce Berkowitz received his MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University. He is a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award for Illinois’ emerging writers. His poetry has been selected for inclusion in the 2017 Best New Poets anthology and the 2019 New Poetry from the Midwest anthology. His poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and an AWP Intro Award. His fiction has been shortlisted for the ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition, the West Virginia Fiction Competition, and the Nelson Algren Award. He is the recipient of the Eberly College Outstanding Teaching Award from West Virginia University. ​

His poetry collection, Bermuda Ferris Wheel, won the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award in 2019. His chapbook, Midwest Mix: Boskydell Bombs, has been a semi-finalist for the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook Contest. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, New Poetry from the Midwest, The Sewanee Review, Ninth Letter, Passages North, Third Coast, The Pinch, Nashville Review, The Minnesota Review, Tampa Review, Barrow Street, Permafrost, Salt Hill, Sugar House Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Hot Metal Bridge, Eleven Eleven, Hobart, The Laurel Review, Barely South Review, Flyway, The Fourth River, The Southampton Review, Pembroke Magazine, Chicago Quarterly Review, Bayou Magazine, Muzzle Magazine, Appalachian Heritage, Evansville Review, and other publications.

Bryce was born in Carbondale, Illinois. He spent much of his youth involved with graffiti, hip hop, and skateboarding. Prior to his MFA, he worked in Los Angeles as a literary assistant at Agency for the Performing Arts, where he gained extensive experience working with technical and professional communication. In August 2019, he will begin teaching at Butler University.

The below poem, which will appear in Bermuda Ferris Wheel, first appeared in Muzzle Magazine.

Hepburn Manor, Los Angeles
by Bryce Berkowitz

​​Pink bleeds into evening. The final flecks of November, a soft blue. Goodbye
jacaranda leaves rustling, sprinklers in the buffalo grass,
a busted sidewalk beneath a bay fig’s shade.
I wanted you, but still I hid. On the rooftop,
beneath the sky-glow, shadowed palms swayed.
While you grew sad beneath me; the weight, a tender sore.
Brake lights pumped through Silver Lake, then disappeared into pepper trees.
In the foothills, tiny wildfires burned; over the Pacific,
planes rose and fell; the city, a jeweled motherboard.
Loneliness, its private wave. A flock of wild parrots
chattered in the neighbor’s Indian Laurel, descendants from a Bel-Air brush fire,
from Pasadena’s theme park. Where solitude built its current—
trips to the chandelier tree, cribbage in the hotel, the trouble with joy.
Along the dry river bed, a methadone clinic—Skid Row now Hope Central;
I fired a revolver into a warehouse wall
on your birthday, sober. I remember angels’ trumpets blooming
against that Melrose bungalow, soccer jugglers in Bellevue park,
Montana can graffiti in the freeway heavens.
I looked at rings. I returned from Austin. I entertained my mother.
It’s hard to remember every dragon snap, every peony,
every trip to the trash. For you, every hand drawn card and candle.
My box of personal items in the corner of a shut closet,
but outside the greasy window screen, we stood in awe of the rain.
Then, a cold snap spread, the way summer ends early.


We would like to say THANK YOU to everyone that submitted a manuscript this year.

These are the poets/manuscripts that made it to the final round of decisioning, runner ups indicated by an asterisk.

Leigh Ann Couch, I Am Bird and I Am Dirt

Glenn Freeman, Drinking with O’Hara

*Fay Dillof, Tips for Observing Mammals in the Wild

Joanna Fuhrman, The Bad Witness

Robert Murdock, Mutated Manlike

Daniel Lechay, Easy for a Cat

Diane Martin, Tongue & Groove

*Elizabeth Onusko, Early Indigo

*Joseph Goosey, Parade of Malfeasance


Robert Cooperman, REEFER MADNESS

*Peter Grandbois, Everything Has Become Birds

Maxine Scates, The Fates

*Richard Terrill, What Falls Away Is Always

Karina Browicz, Rosetta

*Daniel Biegelson, praised be the light of your mechanics

Gregory Lawless, Introduction to Literature

Ann Keniston, somatic

*Vincent Zompa, Asteroid Mambo

Steven Cramer, LISTEN

Robert Evory, Botnet

Henrietta Goodman, Flicker Noise

Susan Bruce, Illuminated Exit

Brad Johnson, Smuggling Elephants Through Airport Security

James Proffitt, A Purposeful Gait

Gary McDowell, Aflame

William H. Greenway, Everything

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