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See below for the list of 2024 winners in the POETRY category, for books with a copyright date of 2023.

Morning Leaves: Reflections on Loss, Grief and Connection
2024 Gold Winner

Author: Laing F. Rikkers

Publisher: The Collective Book Studio

ISBN: 9781685555955

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In the wake of the untimely death of the author's younger sister and isolated by the pandemic, Rikkers produced Morning Leaves, a book of vulnerable, evocative, and ultimately hopeful poems. She introduces her story and explains how counseling, the artistic process, and nature helped her through the healing process.

Indigo Hours: Healing Haiku
2024 Silver Winner

Author: Nancy Stone

Publisher: Rootstock Publishing

ISBN: 9781578691425

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Indigo Hours is a lyrical, profound, and playful book of haiku poems with original scratchboard drawings from an artist thrust into the role of care partner after her husband's diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Her poems and art offer glimmers of gratitude, courage, and resilience for moving forward with an open heart during challenging times.

The Soul Conveys Itself in Shadow / El alma se mueve en la sombra
2024 Silver Winner

Authors: Cecilia Vicuña, Rosa Alcalá, Etel Adnan, Sarah Riggs, Ananda Devi, Kazim Ali, Polina Barskova, Valzhyna Mort, Yu Xiuhua, Amanda Lee Koe, Kit Warren (artist); editors: Kythe Maryam Heller, Carolina Gómez-Montoya

Publisher: Stenen Press

ISBN: 9781735952321

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Translation as friendship. Translation in a fractured world. The Soul Conveys Itself in Shadow / El alma se mueve en la sombra offers dazzling imagery, original poetry, mutual translations, and collaborative essays. Swimming across borders, histories, and echoes, this groundbreaking anthology features creative partnerships that celebrate translation as equitable, intimate, and necessary.


See below for the list of 2023 winners in the POETRY category, for books with a copyright date of 2022.

Field Notes
2023 Gold Winner

Author: Margaret Rogal

Publisher: North Dakota State University Press

ISBN: 9781946163493

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In 1909, twenty-two-year-old Robert Silliman Judd boarded a train from Connecticut to where his uncle Elmer farmed in North Dakota. Robert roamed the prairie with Elmer, observing and collecting birds. Decades later, Robert’s granddaughter Margaret Rogal discovered his letters, summaries, and notebooks filled with detailed records and responded with poetry.

At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros
2023 Silver Winner

Author: Matt Mason

Publisher: The Old Mill Press

ISBN: 9781735769134

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At The Corner of Fantasy and Main is about how our heart is sometimes more reliable than our memory and how places that are touchstones in our lives stay with us in ways that don’t always seem to make sense. And, well, it’s about Disneyland, midlife, and churros.

2023 Silver Winner

Author: Siaara Freeman

Publisher: Button Poetry

ISBN: 9781638340256

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Urbanshee is Siaara Freeman’s retelling of fairy tales and mythological stories through a modern and urban lens. This collection discusses the weight of being Black in America, Freeman’s relationships to lovers and family, and how the physical place you grew up can become part of your identity.


See below for the list of 2022 winners in the POETRY category, for books with a copyright date of 2021.

Testimony: Found Poems from the Special Court for Sierra Leone
2022 Gold Winner

Author: Shanee Stepakoff

Publisher: Bucknell University Press

ISBN: 9781684483105

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Derived from transcripts of public testimonies at a UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone, this remarkable poetry collection delicately extracts heartbreaking human stories from the morass of legal jargon. Shanee Stepakoff finds a novel way to communicate not only the suffering of Sierra Leone’s people, but also their courage, dignity, and resilience.

I Was a Bell
2022 Silver Winner

Author: M. Soledad Caballero

Publisher: Red Hen Press

ISBN: 9781597094900

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In this collection, Caballero imagines how memory frames and reshapes the present, how memory illuminates and limits the stories of ourselves, and how, despite the passage of time, primal moments in the past are the ghosts and echoes of our present.

The Kontum Madonna
2022 Silver Winner

Author: J. Vincent Hansen

Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

ISBN: 9781682011218

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50 years after the war Hansen continues to mine his time in Vietnam as an 18-year-old machine gunner with the 101st Airborne Division. These poems inform us that no soldier ever grows so old as to see a war's final ripple.


See below for the list of 2021 winners in the POETRY category, for books with a copyright date of 2020. Click here to watch the Gold and Silver winner speeches.

His Feathers Were Chains
2021 Gold Winner

Author: Denise K. Lajimodiere

Publisher: North Dakota State University Press

ISBN: 9781946163226

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Lajimodiere’s newest collection of poetry takes its title from a statue the author observed - an Indian on a horse - fashioned from welded-together farm implements. The premise of the collection is overt criticism of settler society, but the poetry is subtle, approachable, and grounded in Ojibwe knowledge and customs.

Did You Sing Your Song?: Poems
2021 Silver Winner

Author: Mary C. Earle

Publisher: New Beginnings, an imprint of Material Media

ISBN: 9781947460072

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The poems in this volume reflect a lifetime of listening for what the Irish call "the music of what happens."  Mary Earle was inspired by the Divine Song that sings in everything. Her poems invite the reader to listen along and awaken to the rhythms of life.

2021 Silver Winner

Author: Margaret Hasse, art by Sharon DeMark

Publisher: Nodin Press

ISBN: 9781947237315

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In a time of the pandemic, we may find new shades of meaning in the term "shelter." Here poet Margaret Hasse and artist Sharon DeMark pair words and images to depict a variety of shelters including structures (a hut, a bus stop), experiences (hugging, reading), and private retreats.


See below for the list of 2020 winners in the POETRY category, for books with a copyright date of 2019.

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Homespun Mercies
2020 Gold Winner

Author: DJ Hill

Publisher: Light of the Moon

ISBN: 9781732790940

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Told through poetry and original artwork, Homespun Mercies is a journey of the soul, with each page bringing readers to a deeper realization of self.

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Human-Powered Poetry from the Appalachian Trail: A Thru-hiker's Perspective
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Daniel "Screech" Zube

Publisher: Peter E. Randall Publisher

ISBN: 9781937721770

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Hikers will enjoy these short poems and color photographs captured at specific mile markers along the Appalachian Trail. Small enough to pack!

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Save Our Ship
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Barbara Ungar

Publisher: The Ashland Poetry Press

ISBN: 9780912592749

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In this alphabet book of feminist and ecological resistance, #MeToo meets Global Weirding, and women do not mind their tongues, or their Ps and Qs.

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the skin of dreams: new and collected poems 1995-2018
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Quraysh Ali Lansana

Publisher: The Calliope Group

ISBN: 9781733647403

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the skin of dreams maps small-town Oklahoma to southside Chicago. Exploring complicated terrains of Blackness, history, and home, these poems cry, sing, scream, and see.

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