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The winning poems from the 2022 Fischer & Cantor Prizes are published below. Read the full press releases on 2022 Fischer Prize winners and 2022 Cantor Prize winners. Click the poem title to see the poem.

Fischer Prize Winner

Devreaux Baker for “My Name Means Memory
Devreaux Baker is an American writer and poet. Baker has published four books of poetry, Out of the Bones of the Earth (Wild Ocean Press, 2015), Light at the Edge (Pygmy Forest Press, 1993), Beyond the Circumstance of Sight (Wild Ocean, 2009), and Red Willow People (Wild Ocean Pressm 2010). She has also received numerous prizes and awards, including the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Poetry Prize for Red Willow People, the 2012 Hawaii Council of Humanities Poetry Prize and the Woman’s Global Leadership Initiative Poetry Award. She has taught poetry workshops in France, Mexico, and the United States, worked with schools through the CPITS Program, and produced the “Voyagers” radio programof original student writing for KZYX Public Radio.

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: “This narrative depiction of a young family’s desperate flight to a refugee camp has a dreamlike quality that defies its nightmarish context. I found myself reading My Name Means Memory again and again, checking to see what images came directly from the poem and which my own imagination had conjured from ‘flowers of witness that bloom even/when I try to forget.’”

Fischer Prize Finalist

Diana Whitney with “Acorns
Diana Whitney writes across the genres with a focus on feminism, sexuality, and motherhood. She is editor of the bestselling anthology YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING: POEMS FOR GIRLS BECOMING THEMSELVES, a Best Book of 2021 and winner of the 2022 Claudia Lewis Award. As the longtime poetry critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Diana featured women poets and LGBTQ voices in her column. Her nonfiction and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Kenyon Review, Glamour, Tinderbox, and many more. Her poetry debut, WANTING IT, became an indie bestseller and won the Rubery Book Award. She is finishing a new collection, GIRL TROUBLE, supported by a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Find out more:

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: “In Acorns, the delightful terrors the Halloween season inspires collide with a parent’s visceral fear for her daughters,” said Scotti. “Using unrhymed tercets, the poet carefully balances narration with imagery, circling from ‘the bearded man who nearly murdered Nonna,’ to the girls who ‘breach the front door, burst inside/in a storm of laughter.’”

Fischer Prize Finalist

Stephen Benz with “Ghost Towns Out West
Stephen Benz has published four books of creative nonfiction, including Topographies and Reading the Signs (both from Etruscan Press). He has also published a book of poems, Americana Motel (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.), along with essays in New England Review, Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, and Best American Travel Writing. He lives in Albuquerque, where he teaches at University of New Mexico. Website:

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: As for Benz’s poem, “Deceptively simple, this rhyming poem tells the story of the Old West by cleverly imagining the stories behind the names of 16 abandoned towns,” explained Scotti. “Each cryptic note makes us long to know more and had me googling into the night.”

Fischer Prize Finalist

Faith Shearin with “Air
Faith Shearin’s books of poetry include The Owl Question (May Swenson Award), Telling the Bees (SFA University Press), Orpheus, Turning (Dogfish Poetry Prize), Darwin’s Daughter (SFA University Press), and Lost Language (Press 53). She has received awards from Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Recent work has been read aloud on The Writer’s Almanac and included in American Life in Poetry. Two YA novels — Lost River, 1918 and My Sister Lives in the Sea — won the Global Fiction Prize and are forthcoming from Leapfrog Press.

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: Shearin’s Air “is a philosophical rumination about time, in the form of couplets about air that take us from Louis Armstrong to the pharaohs. Events are seen at a distance, but this skillful poet keeps us mindful of the present day.”

Fischer Prize Finalist

Rosa Lane with “Clothesline
Rosa Lane is author of three poetry collections including Chouteau’s Chalk, winner, 2017 University of Georgia Press Poetry Prize; Tiller North, winner, 2014 Sixteen Rivers Poetry Manuscript Competition; and Roots and Reckonings, a chapbook. Her work won the 2018 William Matthews Poetry Prize among other prizes and has appeared in the Asheville Poetry Review, Cutthroat, Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Rhino Poetry, Southampton Review, and elsewhere.

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: Regarding Lane’s poem, Scotti said, “You remember concrete poems from sixth grade – Döhl’s wormy apple must have inspired a million bruised bananas and steaming cups of chocolate. This concrete poem, referencing Dickinson, is another thing altogether, billowing across the page in a haunting depiction of loneliness, personified by nightclothes that ‘clipped/side by side, swell/& billow frantic for embodiment.’”

Fischer Prize Finalist

Carolyne Wright with “This dream the world is having about itself…
Carolyne Wright’s latest books are Masquerade, a memoir in poetry (Lost Horse Press, 2021) and This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Poetry 2009. A Seattle native who has lived and taught all over the country, and on fellowships in Chile, Brazil, India and Bangladesh, she has 16 earlier books and anthologies of poetry, essays, and translation. A
Contributing Editor for the Pushcart Prizes, Carolyne has received NEA and 4Culture grants, and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award received in early 2020 and delayed by Covid took her back to Bahia in June and July 2022, with another two months upcoming in 2023.

From Fischer Prize judge Anna Scotti: About Wright’s poem, Scotti noted, “Riffing off William Stafford’s titular line, the poet tracks two sisters along a wending path through imagined decades, cleverly referencing the teens, twenties, thirties and so on, until one sister carries her “final thoughts/almost to the millennium’s edge.” Indeed, the terminal dedication makes us realize that the entire journey, as the girls watched “the trail deepen in brilliant shadow,” may have been a dream.

Cantor Prize Winner

Wendy Videlock for “Ode to the Slow
Videlock’s poems, reviews, and essays appear widely, most notably in Poetry, O Magazine, Hudson Review, Best American Poetry, Rattle and The New York Times. Her most recent books are Wise to the West (Able Muse Press) and The Poetic Imaginarium, a collection of essays and poems on language, landscape and the imagination (Lithic Books).

Cantor Prize Finalist

David Feela for “My Father Retires
Feela is a retired teacher, columnist, poet, and all-around quirky person who has made Montezuma County his home since 1982.

Cantor Prize Finalist

José A. Alcántara for “To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God”
(This poem has been accepted for first publication in the September 2023 issue of Rattle magazine. We will post after its publication.)
Alcántara has worked as a bookseller, mailman, commercial fisherman, electrician, baker, carpenter, studio photographer, door-to-door salesman, and math teacher. He is the author of The Bitten World: Poems (Tebot Bach, 2022). His poetry has appeared in American Life in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and the anthologies, The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy and America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience. His poem “Divorce” won the 2021 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle.

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