2016 Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner & Finalists Announced!

Join us in congratulating the winner and finalists of our 2016 Poetry Chapbook Contest judged by Claudia Rankine!

1st Place Winner:

Reasons for Smoking by Xandria Phillips

Top 2 Finalists:

The Long Now by James Meetze & Panacea by Alison Strub


Rats Running To and Fro Through the Gates of Hell by Kell Connor
Woman, No Children by Asa Drake
Negotiations by Paul Hlava
Owls of Senegal by Baba Badji
Shorn Ellipses by Keith Jones
Dysphoria by Shane Neilson
Kindling by Nathan Wade Carter

We received an unprecedented number of manuscripts this year, and the quality of the work was staggering. Thanks to all who submitted poems for consideration. It was an honor and a privilege to spend time with such a diverse array of brilliantly crafted work.

Claudia Rankine on REASONS FOR SMOKING by Xandria Phillips:

“Let’s deflate something that we can all agree is / monstrous, and take its air inside us,” writes Xandria Phillips in “Elegy for the Living and Breathing." A decolonization of space and self is made physical in this stunning, textured, and ambitious collection of poems. 

This work positions snapshots of contemporary black, queer selfhood against an embodied historical backdrop in order to trace the tolls and infringements of white dominant structures and embedded historical violence upon the body. When I read it, I am reminded of the ways in which language can be repurposed as an amplification device against narratives that seek to erase, bury, and diminish. The poems in Reasons for Smoking articulate how living, touching, noticing, speaking, and remembering are necessary and subversive acts.  


About the Winner:

Xandria Phillips is a poet who hails from rural Ohio. She was raised on corn, and inherited her grandmother’s fear of open water. Xandria received her BA from Oberlin College, where she studied creative writing and Africana Studies. Currently, Xandria is Winter Tangerine's associate poetry editor and an MFA candidate at Virginia Tech. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem and Callaloo. Her poem "For A Burial Free Of Sharks" was selected by Lucas De Lima as the winner of the fifth annual Gigantic Sequins poetry contest. Xandria’s poetry is present or forthcoming in Callaloo, West Branch, Transition, Nepantla, and elsewhere.



About the Judge:

Claudia Rankine is the author and editor of numerous books of poetry and criticism including Citizen: An American Lyric, winner of the Forward Prize for Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award, among many other awards. She currently lives and teaches in California.