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Poetry Editor’s Note

It is an honor to share with you the winners and finalists of this year’s Stephen Dunn Prize, selected by Afaa Michael Weaver.

This year’s winner is Tyler Erlendson for his wonderful poem, Prayer for a New God.

“Prayer for a New God,” writes Afaa Michael Weaver, reminds me of the necessary lightness of Being. It’s lighthearted but ever mindful of the seriousness of what it takes to live.

And we are also excited to present you with a few finalists from the competition, as well: the wrestling thoughts of Sing Sing’s Electric Chair, Old Sparky by Isaac Black, the sound tearing through the story in Before the Last Shot by Carlos Gómez and the lyric interrogations in Salvage by John Sibley Williams.

We were blessed with many outstanding poems from this year’s contest and are delighted to also feature poems by Valerie Duff, Jed Myers, Miriam O’Neal, and Rebecca Olander, as well as multiple pieces by Marc Vincenz and founding poetry editor Betsy Sholl.

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s contest – it was a pleasure to read so many fine submissions, and we’d like to offer our sincerest gratitude to Afaa for judging.

In Betsy Sholl’s poem, Night Class in Wind, she describes the wind as if its job were to loosen, to lift// every blessed thing. I can’t think of a better way to describe the poems in this issue.



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