Dan Gerber has selected Catherine Abbey Hodges’s manuscript Instead of Sadness as the winner of the inaugural Barry Spacks Poetry Prize. In his judges’ commendation, Dan Gerber wrote:
In Catherine Abbey Hodges’ Instead of Sadness the beauty is there as the bread of life, as the poems enter and grow in us—the kind of experience we come to expect in good poems—the feeling of “Ah yes, that’s right.” In classically beautiful and precise language, we are reminded again and again of what we didn’t know we knew. They effect their changes in us subtly and steadily, convincing us that their perceptions and discoveries are our own—which, when we have given them our full attention, is exactly right. In the course of discovering her own experience in the unfolding of the poem she lets us in on the adventure; we believe we are experiencing her surprise at the poem’s destination just as she is discovering it. And we know, at that moment, that we are the better for it. These are truly beautiful, finely honed poems.
Among almost one hundred competitive entries for the inaugural Spacks Prize, there were nine finalists:
- Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Bird Singing in the Moonlight
- Adam Houle, Stray
- Christine Kitano, Sky Country
- John Morrison, Monkey Island
- Barbara Presnell, Blue Star
- Lindsay Tigue, System of Ghosts
- Carine Topal, Some World
- Lillo Way, Wingbone
Instead of Sadness will be published by Gunpowder Press in 2015. The Barry Spacks Prize is awarded annually. Details about next year’s contest will be found on Gunpowder’s Website.