Our contest judge, Darla Crist, has officially chosen Toby Bielawski's Five Kinds of Fences as the New Word Order Publishing Project winner! Here's what Crist had to say about the book:
Meaningful poetry manages to be simultaneously universal and deeply personal, and this difficult goal is certainly accomplished in Five Kinds of Fences. This is a highly imaginative collection of poems, perhaps best described in “A Crown of Safe Spaces,” where the poet writes, “It’s as if I’m in a cabin in my head, with one glass wall/Looking out over a setting that changes whenever my pen/Decides to shift mood or meaning…” And indeed, there are reality shifts in these poems, where the audience is asked to reconsider what constitutes a fence, or what would happen if letters were landscapes. Careful attention to form, language, and metaphor directs the work in this collection, even if “Truth is terrain that cannot be steered.” But truth can be found in “Scrap,” where the speaker is sorting her father’s belongings in the basement: “All of this (interstate rebar, toilet-tank float ball)/All of this (fittings, fan blades, copper spike)/Was for all the things you would have fixed/In your depression-era dreams./Now, with nicked hands I sort and deal --/Called all around/It's just a penny a pound for steel.” And truth can be found in “Rectification of Names”: “Resilience is bread broken and shared,/Jealousy the meat and the wine/And patience a stone herm/Listing towards the spine’s left side. /Souls are a thick mystery, mine and/Yours the same, just your mystery/Is a few inches more strange.” Here’s to truth, and here’s to mystery, two key elements in life, as well as in Five Kinds of Fences.
Here are our runners up:
A World Called Little Jimmy, by Christine Ong Muslim
Postcards from the Less than Important West, by Brent Schaeffer
Randonnées, by Adrienne Drobnes
We want to thank all 36 people who submitted chapbooks-- your interest has inspired us to look into a reprise of the contest in the future! Additionally, thanks to our contest sponsors:
Great People ($5+)
Awesome People ($10+)
Great Honored Benefactors ($25+)
We couldn't have done it without you. The books will be headed to the printers soon-- stay tuned!