Announcing the Winners of the Hillary Gravendyk Prize!

Dear Readers,

It gives me great pleasure to announce the winners, runners-up, and finalists of the inaugural Hillary Gravendky Prize. We received many outstanding submissions for this open book competition, and thank you all for your patience and support of this new endeavor.


The winners of the inaugural Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition are:

Map of an Onion by Kenji Liu (Monterrey Park, CA), winner of the National prize

All Things Lose Thousands of Times by Angela Peñaredondo (Riverside, CA), winner of the Regional prize


Each winner receives a standard book publishing contract and publication of their book, a $1000 honorarium, and twenty complimentary copies. We look forward to bringing these books into the world in 2016.


About the winning manuscripts:

Kenji Liu’s illuminated Map of an Onion is a koan of deconstructions which interrogates within the fissures of difference those spaces within us and between us, as charged spaces of potential and becoming. A book-length question in a hard, graceful calligraphy, asking deeper, asking better, what does it mean to be a self, this Self, to “translate this search / between my family’s four languages,”—emergent, reassembled of ancient molecules and sculpted by all the forces of culture, history and bloodlight into a man? If “nations need a parable to reinvent themselves,” Kenji Liu’s Map of an Onion may be that parable.

—Chad Sweeney, from the judge’s statement

Elastic, dimensional, all-together convincing, Angela Peñaredondo’s debut All Things Lose Thousands of Times wields the language as a mountain wields a storm, in phrases that pivot, reverse, wander, tighten, leap and fall through geographies of the body, an inward archipelago of experience, individual and collective, all past and flooded, all future and on fire, bearing unflinching witness to courage, revelation and sexuality, to life and to the lives of women where “their mothers have turned into mangroves” and where “her father found us / as I knelt before her, knees / on church-cold tile.” A profoundly alert and loving book that sings and celebrates the cosmic interplay of forms. This is what poetry can do. I feel rescued by it.

—Chad Sweeney, from the judge’s statement


We are also thrilled to announce the following runners-up and finalists:

National Runners-Up:

City of Incandescent Lightbulbs by Matthew McBride (Machiasport, ME)

Superstition Freeway by Miles Waggener (Omaha, NE)

Regional Runners-Up:

Through Barricades: Ghosts by Vickie Vertiz (Monterey Park, CA)

Seeds Spent Plants Sow by Kiandra Jiminez (Moreno Valley, CA)


Now, Someday by Micah Chatterton (Riverside, CA)

Betrayed with Trees by James Ducat (Redlands, CA)

The Water in Which One Drowns Is Always an Ocean by Jeff Encke (Tukwila, WA)

Requiter by Kristen Hanlon (Alameda, CA)

Breaking Earth and Other Poems by Scott Hernandez (Riverside, CA)

Flooded Field by John Johnson (Petaluma, CA)

A Western by Genevieve Kaplan (R-LaVerne, CA)

Hole in the Horizon by David Madull (Oakland, CA)

Ornithology by Kevin McLellan (Cambridge, MA)

Why I Cannot Love Picasso by Devon Miller-Duggan (Newark, DE)

Storage Shed by Rich Murphy (Marblehead, MA)

Better Looking by David Oates (Portland, OR)

With Porcupine by Jacob Oet (Solon, OH)

Foul Hook by Sarah Pape (Chico, CA)

How to Disappear by Claudia Reder (Oxnard, CA)

What Magick May Not Alter by J.C. Reilly (Atlanta, GA)

The Scientific Method by Kim Roberts (Washington D.C.)

Lost on My Own Street by Tim Staley (Las Cruces, NM)

The Way a Wound Becomes a Scar by Emily Schulten (Key West, FL)

A Girl Could Disappear Like This by Deborah Schwartz (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Pocket Guide to Another Earth by Mike Smith (Cleveland, MS)

Tenderized Vows by Amy Jo Trier-Walker (Churubusco, IN)

The Auguries by Abigail Wender (New York, NY)


Thank you all for letting us share in your journey, and we hope you will consider submitting again next year!