MQR Announces 2011 Literary Prizes

We are pleased to announce that Michigan Quarterly Review has awarded this year’s trio of literary prizes to the authors of an amusing—and poignant—story about strangers in the strange land of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, an elegant poem on perspectives during a balloon flight, and a gritty poem listing the detritus of life at a Detroit high school.

Lawrence Foundation Prize

Steve Amick has won the $1000 Lawrence Foundation Prize for 2011.  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.  Amick’s story, “In Casimir’s Shoes,” appeared in the special Summer 2011 issue, The Great Lakes: Love Song and Lament.

“In Casimir’s Shoes” introduces a loquacious and irrepressible foreigner who is picked up along an empty Upper Peninsula highway by a tile worker barely making it in the life he’s created for himself.  The tile worker is alternately amused, annoyed, and outraged by the hitchhiker, but is slowly forced to yield the vast psychological distance he originally felt between them.

Steve Amick is the thirty-fourth 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.

Steve Amick was born and raised in Ann Arbor, where he resettled after getting an MFA from George Mason University. He has published numerous short stories as well as the novels The Lake, the River & the Other Lake and Nothing but a Smile, both Michigan Notable Books.

Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize

Patricia Hooper has won the 2011 Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually to the author of the best poem appearing that year in the Michigan Quarterly Review.  Her poem “The View from There” appeared in the Fall 2011 issue.

Speaking of “The View from There,” this year’s judge, Albert Goldbarth (himself a two-time winner of the award) said, “I’m taken by how lightly (but effectively) Ms. Hooper’s poem wears its Big Ideas: beauty versus devastation, and the effects of context and perspective upon that battle.  Ideas asides, it’s a small pleasure to hear the music of her language … and to follow those rotund balloon-like stanzas down the page.”

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

Patricia Hooper’s most recent books are At the Corner of the Eye and Aristotle’s Garden, winner of the 2003 Bluestem Award for Poetry.  Her poems have appeared in the American Scholar, Poetry, the Atlantic Monthly, the Hudson Review, and other magazines.

Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets

francine j. harris is the third 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.

MQR Poetry Editor Keith Taylor writes that harris’s poem “what you’d find buried in the dirt under charles f. kettering sr. high school (detroit, michigan),” which appeared in the  Winter 2011 issue, “delineates a strong personal vision of loss by the choice of things mentioned and their placement in the poem. The Editors and Staff of the Michigan Quarterly were captivated by the hurried exuberance of harris’s language and impressed by the passion that is manifest through a form that could seem so much like simple reportage.  A measure of her success is that the poem becomes deeply moving under the weight of its details.”

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.

francine j. harris is a Cave Canem fellow and has work appearing in Rattle, Callaloo, Ninth Letter, Ploughshares, Indiana Review, and an anthology by the AIDS Project of Los Angeles: to be left with the body. She has participated in the Callaloo workshop, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is the author of a recent chapbook, between old trees. She is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Michigan.

These awards are not part of a contest. Only works published in the Michigan Quarterly Review are eligible, and all works published in the relevant categories are automatically considered for the awards. Click here for our submission guidelines.

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