Philadelphia Stories is proud to present the winners of the first Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry, a national poetry contest made possible by the generous support of Joseph Sullivan. The prizes were awarded as follows:
FIRST PLACE: Jeanann Verlee. Jeanann is a former punk rocker and author of Racing Hummingbirds, which earned the Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal for poetry. Jeanann wins the first place prize of $1,000, publication, and an invitation to an awards event on May 20, 2012 at the Swedish Museum in Philadelphia.
SECOND PLACE: Steven Harbold. Steven is a writer and editor living in South Jersey. He is a graduate of Rowan University. Steven wins the second place prize of $250 and publication.
HONARABLE MENTION: Alexander Long. Alexander’s third book, Still Life, won the 2011 White Pine Press Poetry Prize.
The winning poems will appear in the Spring 2012 issues of Philadelphia Stories, due out March 26. The winners will be celebrated at a special “poetry celebration” on May 20, 2012 at the Swedish Museum in Philadelphia. This event will be open to the public. Admission will be just $10, which will include food, beverages, and entertainment.
Philadelphia Stories received about five hundred pages of poetry, which were narrowed down to top ten poems. These were presented to judge Major Jackson, who selected the final winners. Philadelphia Stories’ poetry editor Courtney Bambrick has this to say about the winning poems:
“Jeanann Verlee’s ‘Hereditary’ is a terse, taut piece that clatters with the anxiety of its speaker. I haven’t made up my mind about the connection between word and flesh, but I itch reading this piece. Verlee’s words move quickly off the page and into the body of the reader.
Steven Harbold’s ‘The Painting’ asks questions about memory and the ability of art to recreate or even reflect memory. It ends with what is probably my favorite stanza of the competition. Not only is the concept here challenging and fascinating, but the formal elements are executed beautifully.”
Thank you to all of the poets who submitted to the contest, and to Joe Sullivan, interns Mirabella Mitchell and Sam Lasko, and to the amazing Major Jackson, for lending their support to this program.
For more information about the prize or the awards ceremony, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the 2011 Judge: Major Jackson is the author of two collections of poetry: Hoops (Norton: 2006) and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia: 2002), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Hoops was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literature--Poetry. His third volume of poetry Holding Company is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. He is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.
About Sandy Crimmins: Sandy Crimmins served on the Philadelphia Stories board from 2005 to 2007. Sandy was a poet who performed with musicians, dancers and fire-eaters at bars, bookstores and festivals. After earning a master’s in fine arts from the University of Ohio, Sandy moved to New York and became a stage manager for several theaters, and, in 1985, married Joseph Sullivan. Four years later, she earned a master's in nonprofit management from the University of Detroit. She, her husband and their two sons moved to West Mount Airy in 1989, and she began to write poetry and fiction focused on family issues. Her short stories and poems were published in a variety of journals, and her book, String Theory, was published by Plan B Press.