Anderbo Poetry Prize

2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize

Judged by Debora Greger

Winner: Susan Cohen
of Berkeley, California

She receives $500, and her winning poem is published here:

Susan Cohen

when people die their voices remain

too fluid to be captured in stone

after a while the voices wander off

some to a secret village on the other side of fog

others into the copse behind my house

I hear them in the hours

before a finch sings on its slender branch of air

the voices wait to be recycled like phone numbers

there being only so many combinations

of notes and throats

they bide their time and plot

to ambush me from the mouths of strangers

in a hotel lobby years from now

meanwhile a few hang around impatient

among the tree-mutter

some in phloem and some in duff

some in a swirl of bay laurel

one in the heartwood of oak

Susan Cohen is the author of Throat Singing, a full-length book of poems from Cherry Grove Collections. She’s an award-winning journalist and poet, including the 2011 Rita Dove Poetry Award, and the 2010 book prize from the National Association of Science Writers. Her poems have appeared in Greensboro Review, Nimrod, River Styx, Southern Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She lives in Berkeley where, after a career spent fixing the world by writing for newspapers, she enrolled in Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program.


Casey Charles

She says I will meet a Welshman on my travels to the Lake District.

She sees me puddle jumping through United Kingdoms,

hooking up for walks across waters.

She says money and death spur the roan toward ancient thrones.

She finds rhyme in risky breakups.

I will walk spans of Himalayan bridges,

she predicts, swim in delicious solitude,

in awe before peaks named after the blood of Christ,

who could not marry Mary M.

Look, she says, now you are free to find new ties,

you can board the dogs and go abroad,

sip espresso on the grand piazza,

pose with pigeons bringing messages tied to their meaty feet.

Hope waves from her throat like a scarf in the wind.

For me she dreams, while her border collie barks at mule deer,

breaks the leash, running through sage and skulls,

heedless of screech or whistle, bound for the untamed herd.

Casey Charles teaches literature at the University of Montana, specializing in Shakespeare as well as gay and lesbian studies. His chapbook Controlled Burn was named one of Montana’s best books of 2007 by The Missoula Independent, and Blood Work, another chapbook, is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press in 2012. He is the winner of the 2010 Washington Square Poetry Award.

Debora Greger
2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize Judge
Debora Greger is the author of eight books of poetry: Movable Islands (1980), And (1986), The 1002nd Night (1990), Off-Season at the Edge of the World (1994), Desert Fathers, Uranium Daughters (1996), God (2001), Western Art (2004), and Men, Women, and Ghosts (2008). She has won, among other honors, the Grolier Prize, the Discovery-The Nation prize, the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets, an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and the Brandeis University Award for Poetry. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, and in Cambridge, England.

Charity Burns
2011 Anderbo Poetry Prize Contest Assistant
Charity Burns, Anderbo’s Poetry Editor, earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Florida. Her poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Madison Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and West Branch. Charity’s blog is The Beauty Works Project.

  fiction    poetry    "fact"    photography
masthead      guidelines