2016 Elyse Wolf Prize & Annual Chapbook Contest

Slate Roof Press is delighted to announce the selection of Listening Blind to a Bewick's Wren by Susan Glass as the winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize & annual poetry chapbook contest.

C.M. Clark, The Five Snouts
Lois Harrod, What of Earth Is Not My Body?

Mary Couling, The Flower Charmer of Whitstone Ledge
Suzanne Frank, This Skin
Atar Hadari, Me Mum Kissed Me Dad in the Back of That Mosque
Michael Hettich, To Start an Orchard
Jared Pearce, What She Said
Laura Rodley, Return of the Tigers

Susan Glass' poetry has appeared in Snowy Egret, The San Jose Studies Journal, Range of Motion Anthology, The Broad River Review, Magnets and Ladders, and elsewhere. A California resident with ties to western Massachusetts, she held a residency at the Cummington Community of the Arts in Massachusetts and received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. After teaching for many years at San Jose State University and West Valley Community College, she now edits the news magazine for the California Council of the Blind, Blind Californian, along with The Blind Teacher for the American Association of Blind Teachers. She and her husband John share their home with her guide dog, Zeus, who insures that all three remain irreverent, active, and loved.

We at Slate Roof thank everyone who participated for their considerable time, work, and heart in preparing and submitting a manuscript. The selection process was long and difficult; we received many excellent manuscripts representing a broad spectrum of poetic styles and concerns, and each of us read every one. Our selection process was blind. What we admired most in Susan's work was her unique vision and acute ear, her connection to earth and landscape, and her impassioned embrace of language, whether Braille, the stamping of deer, or the calling of birds bursting into her life. Here is one sample from her manuscript:

Letter to Visual Cortex
Perhaps you are not my subject of address;
but your reputation for flexibility precedes you,
as my fingertips and I well know.
We were there, you see,
when you captured the initially meaningless pebbles--
ticklish filigree lace on cardboard paper.
I still recall our first word: rain.
In contracted Braille, it arrived:
Cell 1: three dots left and one at mid-level right.
Cell two: one dot at top left.
Cell three: two subtler points, better mannered, less demanding,
nestling midrange, mid finger pad.
On that afternoon of first differentiation,
it was, in fact, raining in the leaf-flecked garden.
Sycamore and oak muted the drops
so that they hissed like skillet garlic.
So too, those dots beneath my right-hand index finger
hissed into recognition.
That first neural path, from fingertip to visual cortex,
bypassed my passive eyes and forgave their shyness.
With one word, rain,
the new wiring laid itself
into place.

Originally appeared in Magnets and Ladders

Now in our 12th year, Slate Roof Press is member-run and committed to publishing the best new voices in poetry, with a focus on Massachusetts and regional poets. Designed by the poets themselves, Slate Roof chapbooks feature letterpress covers, special papers, and hand-sewn bindings.

Watch for the 2017 Elyse Wolf prize/chapbook contest coming soon!