We’re pleased to announce that Michigan Quarterly Review has awarded this year’s trio of literary prizes to the following: Rebecca Makkai, for a finely crafted story about connection and quiet reappraisals; Angie Estes, for two exquisite poems “balancing the omnipresence of death with the fragile pleasures of life”; and Margaret Reges, for her poems’ exuberant physical description.
Rebecca Makkai has won the $1000 Lawrence Foundation Prize for 2012. 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. Makkai’s story “Cross” appeared in the Summer 2012 issue.
“Cross” enters the world of a forty-something cellist who returns from teaching at a summer music institute to discover that while she was away, an automobile accident took the life of a teenaged girl in front of her house. The makeshift memorial that has sprouted on her lawn is only the first of the disconcerting realities she needs to face.
Rebecca Makkai is the thirty-fifth winner of the prize, joining, among other authors, Charles Baxter, Paul Bowles, Susan Dodd, Clark Blaise, Sena Jeter Naslund, 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.
“Cross” is part of a just-completed story collection, Music for Wartime. Makkai’s stories have been selected for the last four volumes of Best American Short Stories. Her first novel, The Borrower, is available in paperback from Penguin.
Angie Estes has won the 2012 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually to the author of the best poem or group of poems appearing that year in the Michigan Quarterly Review. Her poems “Le Plaisir” and “Item:” appeared in the Fall 2012 issue.
Speaking of “Le Plaisir” and “Item:” Martha Collins, who was this year’s judge, writes:
In an exquisite pair of short poems, Angie Estes balances the omnipresence of death with the fragile pleasures of life. Collaging a remarkably wide range of material that includes history, science, visual art, film, and personal history, Estes suspends her delicate lines like the cherries hanging at the end of one of the poems, “no stems attached.
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.
Angie Estes is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Tryst (Oberlin College Press, 2009), named one of two finalists for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Prize from the Poetry Society of America.
Margaret Reges is the fourth recipient of the new 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. Reges’s poems “Hill” and “Dogs” appeared in the Winter 2012 issue.
MQR Poetry Editor Keith Taylor writes that “Margaret Reges is a young poet who seems to enter the natural world with the richness of her physical descriptions, yet she does it with a syntax that is rich and complicated. Even at a comparatively young age, she is finding a unique approach to the poem.”
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.
Margaret Reges received her BA from the University of Michigan and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently lives in California, where she teaches creative writing at an arts-based day program for adults with developmental disabilities.