The 2019 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize — our 7th annual poetry contest — exceeded all expectations, with 1200 entries, from 47 US states and 75 countries, comprising more than 2,000 individual poems. All poems were read “blind” with all identifying information deleted. Our tireless first round readers whittled that number down to 120 poems which were then sent to our three judges, Eric Morago, Tanya Ko Hong, and me, for the final judging. Each of us chose one winner and two finalists, for a total of three winners and six finalists, presented here.
Poems Chosen by judge Tanya Ko Hong:
Winner: Lily Lyu – “Obituary of a Fig Wasp”
Finalist: Tony Magistrale – “The Lunch”
Finalist: Alessandra Bava – “My Son Writes His First Poem in Spanish”
Poems Chosen by judge Eric Morago:
Winner: Lynne Burnett – “The Colour of Bruises”
Finalist: Nina Bennett – “Do Over”
Finalist: Peter Ogun (aka Ojo Taiye) “My Little Cousin Came to America Armed with Just a Few Phone Numbers & Four English Words – ‘I Am a Refugee’”
Poems Chosen by judge Alexis Rhone Fancher
Winner: Peter Ogun (aka Ojo Taiye) “There Is Nothing You Can Do To Replace My Fada”
Finalist: Farah Ghafoor “The Goat”
Finalist: Julia Dasbach “Practice Children Don’t Survive The Holidays”
Each winner receives $250. Each finalist receives $75.
My undying gratitude to the following people who made this year’s contest possible: Jack Grapes, Tanya Ko Hong, Eric Morago, Art Currim, Nancy Lynée Woo, Anita Pulier, Ernesto Adrien Cepeda, Lisa Segal, Alexandra Umlas, Troy Grubbs, and the tireless Jim Fancher.
We hope you enjoy these remarkable poems, this year’s créme de la créme. And leave a comment if you’d like. Make my day!
– Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor, Cultural Weekly
Photo of Jack Grapes by Alexis Rhone Fancher