In this excerpt Sunni has this to say about the beginning of the collection:
Sunni Brown Wilkinson: In the opening poem (“Rodeo”), something in the speaker is broken. I don’t say what outright, but it becomes apparent in the poems directly following: we had just lost our youngest son. I did feel like my body was literally broken. I was recovering from my fourth C-section, I was 40, and the baby we had anxiously been awaiting was stillborn. I’d never known how physically crippling grief could be, and I barely had the strength to get through each day. And in that opening poem, there actually aren’t any birds, just a hummingbird hawk moth, which looks like the tiniest bird but is in fact an insect. So in that first poem, I would say there’s just heaviness and struggle, no wingspan, very little to lift the body toward lightness.
Sunni Brown Wilkinson‘s poetry can be found in Western Humanities Review, Sugar House Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, SWWIM, Crab Orchard Review and other journals and anthologies. She is the author of The Marriage of the Moon and the Field (Black Lawrence Press 2019, finalist for the Hudson Prize) and The Ache and the Wing (winner of Sundress’s 2020 Chapbook Prize). She also won New Ohio Review’s NORward Poetry Prize and the 2020 Joy Harjo Prize from Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. She teaches at Weber State University and lives in northern Utah with her husband and three sons.
The Poet’s Billow is happy to announce that Marlo Starr has been selected as the winner of the 2020 Pangaea Prize. The winning poems along with a selection of the finalists can be read on the 2020 Pangaea Prize announcement page.
We also named a number of semifinalists. This was a difficult list to make and hard decisions were made on every level of judging. We receive so many great poems and don’t have the resources to publish them all.
The Poet’s Billow is also now welcoming submissions to the Atlantis Award. If you would like to stay updated on contests and publications in the future you can join us on Facebook and Twitter.
About our Winner:
Marlo Starr writes and teaches in Baltimore. She holds an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins and a PhD in English from Emory University. Her poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in BOAAT, The Threepenny Review, Berfrois, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and elsewhere.
Karla Linn Merrifield has been a finalist for many poet’s billow’s poetry awards, published over ten collections of poems, and is published widely. She now has a website where you can learn more about her many talents and travels. Check it out: https://karlalinnmerrifield.org/books/