We are very pleased to announce the winners of our third annual ProForma Contest!
- First Place: Eric Dovigi, “Here Is a List of Words I Prefer”
- Second Place: Philip Schaefer, “Five Poems”
- Third Place: Brian Clifton, “Bedroom”
See below for what judge Alex Lemon had to say about each of our winners:
First Place and winner of $1200: Eric Dovigi, “Here Is a List of Words I Prefer”
Eric Dovigi lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. His work can be found online at: Grist, Hobart, Waxwing, Sourland Mountain Review, Universidad de Madrid’s JACLR, and elsewhere.
Judge Alex Lemon writes of Dovigi’s “Here Is a List of Words I Prefer”: From beginning to end, “Here is a list of words I prefer” is an expression of full-throated joy: it is a lyrical exploration/ explosion with manifold pleasures. Electric in its deepening, expressive movements—from “yelwe orca crustacean grass burgundy” to “I’m a google search away from a final cynicism,” to the delightful, intellectually vibrant, and emotionally palpable—it is a piece of writing humorous and wise and human. Its graceful modulation of tone allows it a splendored use of both text and image. The suppleness of mind behind it makes the writing leap and plumb, to be beautiful and strange and confess while always, always celebrating.
Second Place: Philip Schaefer, “Five Poems”
Philip Schaefer’s debut collection of poems Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, and he’s the author of three chapbooks, two co-written with friend and poet Jeff Whitney. He won the 2016 Meridian Editor’s Prize in poetry and has work out or due out in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Thrush Poetry Journal, Guernica, The Cincinnati Review, Salt Hill, Bat City Review, The Adroit Journal, Baltimore Review, diode, and Passages North among others. He tends bar in Missoula, MT.
Judge Alex Lemon writes of Schaefer’s “Five Poems”: There’s so much to love in this submission of wonderfully pitched poems: among them, the twinning of assertion and the sadly-strange in the superb “Salvation Party,” and the ecstatic suckerpunch of their closing lines, like “to be bright / as a child entering this world, still flawless and covered in blood” or “get up and run. This was always about you.” These poems risk and hazard and play, unfolding and/or wormholing their poetic worlds, deftly accreting emotion-packed images. These are dazzling poems.
Third Place: Brian Clifton, “Bedroom”
Brian Clifton co-edits Bear Review. His work can be found in: The Journal, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, Salt Hill, and other such magazines. He is a first year doctoral student at the University of North Texas.
Judge Alex Lemon writes of Clifton’s “Bedroom”: “Bedroom” is a gorgeous sestina. It takes full advantage of the fugue of the form, spinning us through its stanzas. In an ebb and flow of iteration and emotive space, it tightrope-walks the razor edge that sits between pleasure and pain.
Congratulations also to this year’s finalists and semi-finalists!
Kayleb Rae Candrilli
Ann Stewart McBee
The three winners will be published in Grist’s Issue Eleven in February 2018. To pre-order Issue Eleven, head over to our Submittable page.