2017 ELYSE WOLF PRIZE, OFFERED BY SLATE ROOF PRESS

Slate Roof Press is delighted to announce the selection of body psalms by Audrey Gidman as the winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize & annual poetry chapbook contest.

Finalists:

Jane Poirier Hart for Last Meals & Other Devourings
Jennifer Martelli for Queen of Night
Julia Thacker for The Winter Comb
Andrew Varnon for River and Canal

Semifinalists:

Cindy King for Easy Street
Susan Leary for This Girl Your Disciple
Herbert Martin for Praise Songs for a Few Black Men and Women

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 one was read by at least three press members. Our selection process was blind.

About the winning author and manuscript:

Audrey Gidman's work can be found in Smeuse, The 2River View, The Rush, Slippery Elm, Confrontation, the Sandy River Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2016 recipient of the Slippery Elm Poetry Prize and the 2018 recipient of the Slate Roof Press Elyse Wolf Prize in Poetry, and has been featured in the Portland Press Herald weekly poetry column Deep Water: Maine Poems, curated by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Maine Poet Laureate. Gidman has developed and teaches workshops in what she calls love letter activism, along with erasure poetry, yoga and Reiki. She received her BFA from the University of Maine Farmington and resides in the western foothills of Maine.

Here is an excerpt from one poem in the manuscript:

Anatomy/Geography/Ethnography
(after Bernardino de Sahagún’s “Definitions of Earthly Things”)

Blood
A mountain stream inside a breathing sack. A palm and some garnets.

Feet
For climbing mountains. For bedding grass. For being, upright. For being apart. For meditating; bedding dirt. For conversation with roots. For conversation. For dancing, dancing on wooden floors, dancing on pebbles, in water, not in water. For softness and for roughness. Dancing. For conversation through dancing. For bedding grass. For being where being has gotten to.

Knees
For prayer. For proving smallness. To catch grace and place it in dirt, to touch dirt. To prove smallness. To kiss mountains with small mountains, with grace.

Spine
To have roots. To sizzle and burst. To sway. To be still. Mosaic of gravity and motion. Tower of being. To be. To crunch and glide. For gliding. For trusting and gliding and swimming and bending toward up. For bending toward up. For twisting and being. For being a tower. Leaning tower, high tower, vibrating tower, up, up. Tower of being; being up. Bone puzzle. Tree body. For being a tree.

(originally appeared in Slippery Elm)

Now in our 14th 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.