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Thursday, August 9, 2007

no winner for iowa poetry prize

2007 Iowa Poetry Prize

Iowa City, Iowa—For the first time since the Iowa Poetry Prize was established, screeners and judges have been unable to find an award-winner among the manuscripts read during the month of April, Holly Carver, director of the University of Iowa Press, announced today. “I am sorry to have to say that none of the manuscripts submitted for this reading period met the standards for the poetry prize. Many contained individual poems that were very fine indeed, but collectively none of the poems added up to a unified, mature volume. We did not think that selecting a manuscript that was not yet ready to become a book was in the best interests of the manuscript’s author, the authors of the other candidates, or past Iowa Poetry Prize winners.”

The Iowa Poetry Prize was first awarded in 1990. Originally called the Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Award, the series was renamed with the 1993 award. Until 2001, the award honored only writers who had already published at least one book of poetry; the award is now open to new writers as well. Books in this series have also won such awards as the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

News that Emily Rosko’s Raw Goods Inventory, the 2005 Iowa Poetry Prize winner, was recently awarded the 2007 Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers only confirmed Carver’s decision to resist awarding the prize this year. “Much as we would have preferred to publish a poetry book next spring, choosing a relatively weak manuscript did not seem fair to anyone,” she said.

“The screeners read every manuscript that had potential twice—in effect doubling their workload—and the judge read twice the usual number of finalists,” Carver added, “but even after taking extra time to read and reread promising manuscripts, we could not convince ourselves that we had a satisfactory collection.”

Candidates for next year’s prize will be read in April 2008. “If we can attract a stronger group of manuscripts,” Carver said, “we will try to select an extra winner in 2008 to make up for our disappointment in 2007.” Click here to read the guidelines for the Iowa Poetry Prize.

Awarded annually by the University of Iowa Press, the Iowa Poetry Prize is one of the leading national poetry awards. The acclaimed competition is open to new as well as established poets. Recent winners of the prize include Sunday Houses the Sunday House by Elizabeth Hughey, American Spikenard by Sarah Vap, Raw Goods Inventory by Emily Rosko, Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk by Joshua Marie Wilkinson, and Ledger by Susan Wheeler..

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