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Thanks a Lot, Shakespeare, for the Starling (first appeared in America)  by Jonathan Greenhause of New Jersey:

Jonathan Greenhause was a runner up for last year’s Fischer Prize and for America’s 2019 Foley Poetry contest, and he was shortlisted for the 2019 Mick Imlah Poetry Prize from London’s Times Literary Supplement and for The Black Spring Press Group’s 2020 Sexton Prize for Poetry. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Contemporary Verse 2, Lake Effect, The Lascaux Review, new ohio review, Notre Dame Review, Salamander, and The Poetry Society website, among others. He lives in Jersey City with his wife and two sons.


1st Outstanding Finalist:
Migration Patterns (previously appeared at the Poetry Society of America and Winning Writers websites) by Melissa Studdard of Texas:

Melissa Studdard is the author of five books, including the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast and the poetry chapbook Like a Bird with a Thousand Wings. Her work has been featured by PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and has also appeared in periodicals such as POETRY, Kenyon Review, Psychology Today, New Ohio Review, Harvard Review, Missouri Review, and New England Review. Her work has won or placed in The Penn Review Poetry Prize, the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize, the Tom Howard Prize, The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, and more.

Studdard’s website is here.

2nd Outstanding Finalist:
Upon Hearing Amy Winehouse at St. James Church in Dingle (first appeared in Poetry)  by Partridge Boswell of Vermont

Partridge Boswell is the author of Some Far Country (Grolier Poetry). His poems have recently surfaced in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, december, Plume, Hotel Amerika, Prairie Schooner and The Moth. Co-founder of Bookstock Literary Festival, he troubadours widely with the poetry/music group, Los Lorcas, and lives with his family in Vermont.

3rd Outstanding Finalist:
After Rousseau’s ‘The Dream’, Museum of Modern Art, 2016   by Julie E. Bloemeke of Georgia

Julie E. Bloemeke’s first full-length poetry collection, Slide to Unlock, debuted with Sibling Rivalry Press in March, 2020. A Bennington Writing Seminars graduate and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, her poems have been widely anthologized, most recently in Mother Mary Comes to Me: A Popculture Poetry Anthology (2020). Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Cortland Review and others. A freelance writer and editor, her interviews have been featured in AWP Writer’s Chronicle and Poetry International. Her essay on poetry and spirituality is forthcoming in EcoTheo Review.

4th Outstanding Finalist:
Shape Shift  by A. Kaiser of New York

A. Kaiser is the Pushcart Prize nominated author of <glint>, co-winner of the inaugural Milk and Cake Book Prize. Her poem, “Shape Shift,” was long-listed for the 2020 Fish Publishing Poetry Prize. Her poem, “The Hunt,” is included in Sonora Review’s issue on gender-based violence. Poems and photos can also be found in Harbor Review, Lavender Review, NewSquare, and The Rumpus. She curated and participated in events for the Sant Jordi 2020 Festival; and has read as an invited poet in, and curated for, the COMPASS concert series. She translates Catalan, French, Georgian and Spanish. More soon here.

5th Outstanding Finalist:
Sentimental Education (first appeared in Gulf Coast)  by V. Penelope P​elizzon of Connecticut

V. Penelope Pelizzon’s second poetry collection, Whose Flesh Is Flame, Whose Bone Is Time, was published in 2014 (Waywiser Press). Her first book, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000), won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. A 2019 Hawthornden fellow, her new poems appear or are forthcoming in Tin House online, Ecotone, 32 Poems, The Bennington Review, The Gettysburg Review, The New England Review, and The Harvard Review. See her website here.

CANTOR AWARD ($500)​​:

The Sunflower Miners  by Mark Oreskovich ​of Pueblo, Colorado

Raised in Pueblo, Colorado, I call this city home again after years in Pittsburgh and Chicago. Away from work, I write poetry, I sing, and I play guitar and a Croatian folk instrument called a tambura, which is obscure but lovely. I share life with Annie (my wife and guru). She smiles when she sleeps, and she “paints like God,” to borrow Guy Clark’s phrase. Molly and Willa are our brilliant, lovely daughters. Life tastes sweet after writing these sentences.

Video:  Claire Blotter, 2020 Fischer Prize Judge, reading her poem, “This Time”:

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