The 42 Miles Press Poetry Award

WINNER, 2021 42 Miles Press Poetry Award

We are proud to announce that We Can’t Tell If the Constellations Love Us by Jennifer Boyden has been selected as winning manuscript! Please join us in congratulating Jennifer on this achievement.

Jennifer Boyden is the author of two books of poetry, The Declarable Future (Four Lakes Prize in Poetry) and The Mouths of Grazing Things (Brittingham Prize in Poetry). She is also the author of a recent novel, The Chief of Rally Tree, which received the Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature. Jennifer is a former PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Resident, which allowed her to live and write in solitude for a year in the remote Rogue River Wild and Scenic area. Jennifer is on the faculties of Spring Street International School and of Eastern Oregon University’s low-residency MFA program. She lives on an island in Washington state.

The Editors want to say thank you to everyone who submitted to this year’s contest. Again and again, we are blown away by the quality of the work we receive.

Here is a selected poem from We Can’t Tell If the Constellations Love Us. . .

Lunar Year of the Explosion

The people are shooting the sky
again tonight.

When it dies,
its body will be a hallway of our dreams:

a woman washing her head, a goat
looking down from the awning,

a purse spilling the fish we lost
when we told the rivers to double their haul

if they wanted to live. All the things
in our dreams have grown arms.

When they reach for us, it is
to hold us tenderly.

It was not always terrible
to be held to our making.

At their chest, we understand 
why we took their teeth,

blunted their claws, dimmed their voices
into a shroud between worlds.

Submissions will open for the next poetry prize on February 1st 2022.

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