MQR Awards 2016 Literary Prizes

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Lawrence Foundation Prize

Ruchama King Feuerman has won the $1,000 Lawrence Foundation Prize for 2016. The prize is awarded annually by the Editorial Board of MQR to the author of the best short story published that year in the journal. Feuerman’s “Kill Fonzie” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue.

Feuerman is the thirty-ninth winner of the prize, joining, among other authors, Charles Baxter, Paul Bowles, Susan Dodd, Clark Blaise, Sena Jeter Naslund, Rebecca Makkai, Alice Mattison, and Lynne Sharon Schwartz. The prize is endowed by the Lawrence Foundation and its director, Leonard S. Bernstein, an alumnus of the University of Michigan and himself a fiction writer.

Feuerman was born in Nashville, grew up in Virginia and Maryland, and when she was seventeen, moved to Israel. She later returned to the US to pursue an MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. Her latest novel, In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, received rave reviews from the Boston Globe, the Dallas Morning News, and the Wall Street Journal, which deemed it the best novel of the year.

Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize

John Rybicki has won the 2016 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually to the author of the best poem or group of poems appearing that year in Michigan Quarterly Review. His poem “A River Is Not a Watery Rope,” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue.

This year’s judge, Laura Kasischke, writes:

John Rybicki’s is a frightening, unforgettable, but also redemptive poem. Through his burnished and crushing imagery, a conclusion is drawn, whether or not it’s the conclusion we wanted. This is one the most precise and beautiful considerations of the human condition I’ve read. Those of us who are still alive on Earth in bodies — well, we’re all Orpheus, and because we cannot do so with our arms, we must embrace those we’ve lost with music and dream. In this brief meditation on longing and love, Rybicki has given us an entirely new way to appreciate our shared experience, and there’s nothing greater than this that any poem can achieve.

Rybicki’s latest book of poems, When All the World is Old, is available from Lookout Books. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Field, TriQuarterly, Ecotone, and The Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies. He teaches poetry writing in Detroit high schools through the InsideOut Literary Arts Project.

The Laurence Goldstein Prize was established in 2002 by a generous gift from the Office of the President of the University of Michigan and is awarded in the amount of $500. A different judge is selected each year by the university.

Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets

Eric Rivera has won the 2016 Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets, which is awarded annually to the best poet appearing in MQR who has not yet published a book. The award, which is determined by the MQR editors, is in the amount of $500. MQR Poetry Editor Keith Taylor writes about “Smoke,” which appeared in our Fall 2016 issue,

As the staff looked over the poems by emerging writers that we had published in the last year, Eric Rivera’s “Smoke” stood out. The language is direct, almost unornamented, yet the emotion contained in these few lines — their depiction of the small moral compromises we make for the demands of love — seemed complex, vivid, and very real.

The Page Davidson Clayton Prize was established in 2009 by a generous gift from Meg and Mac Clayton in honor of Mac Clayton’s mother and in support of poetry and the development of new poets. Rivera writes screenplays for animated children’s shows, which have aired on Disney, Nickelodeon, and Gulli (France). He has also written for SPIN.com.

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