2017 Balcones Winners Announced

Austin Community College awards the 2017 Balcones Poetry Prize to Daylily Called it a Dangerous Moment by Alessandra Lynch (Alice James Books)

The award of $1,500 is for an outstanding book of poetry published in 2017

Daylily Called it a Dangerous Moment is Alessandra Lynch’s third book of poetry. She has also published poems in American Poetry Review, The Antioch Review and Ploughshares, and received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, and served as a poet/curator for Stream/Lines, an Indianapolis Waterways Project. She teaches poetry at Butler University, and lives in Indianapolis.

In bestowing the award, the judges cited the book as a “triumph of bravery and artistry.” “Depicting rape and its aftermath with moral determination, hard-won vision, a wild, compelling music and keen natural imagery,” “she breaks her dangerous moment open” to learn “the pain from such a violent act transmutes the self with the passage of time.” “These poems have a feeling of a seabird skimming the surface of the body of water under which lies a profound depth,” and “sometimes read like a snare drum heard above the full swell of an orchestra.”

Four finalists were named:

“Terra Nova” by Cynthia Huntington (Southern Illinois University Press)

“Let’s All Die Happy” by Erin Adair-Hodges (University of Pittsburgh Press)

“I’m So Fine” by Khadijah Queen (YesYes Books)

“Feet of the Messenger” by H.C. Palmer (BkMk Press)

The judges for the 2017 prize were Cyrus Cassells, a poet and professor at Texas State University, Jenny Keto, a poet, actress and student of nursing who lives in Austin, and David Thornberry, a poet, painter and professor of art at Austin Community College.

Former winners of the Balcones Poetry Prize:

American Happiness, Jacqueline Allen Trimble, 2016

What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, ed. Michael Wiegers, 2015

Once in the West, Michael Wiman, 2014

Interrobang, Jessica Piazza, 2013

When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz, 2012

Bone Fires, Mark Jarmon, 2011

Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, Chase Twichell, 2010

Portrait and Dream, Bill Berkson, 2009

Dismantling the Hills, Michael McGriff, 2008

At the Drive-In Volcano, Aimee Nezhukumatahil, 2007

Drive, Lorna Dee Cervantes, 2006

No Accident, Aaron Anstett, 2005

Dancing on Main Street, Lorenzo Thomas, 2004

Bread Without Sorrow, John Hogden, 2002

Short History of Pets, Carol Potter, 2001

In the Surgical Theatre, Dana Levin, 2000

The Red-Shifting Web, Arthur Sze, 1999

Sparrow: New and Selected Poems, Reginald Gibbons, 1997

The Body Mutinies, Lucia Perillo, 1996

Every Substance Clothed, Kathleen Halme, 1995

Nominations for the 2018 Balcones Poetry Prize will be accepted from September 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019 at http://sites.austincc.edu/crw/balcones-prizes/

Austin Community College awards the 2017 Balcones Fiction Prize to Spoils, by Brian Van Reet (Lee Boudreaux/Little, Brown)

The award of $1,500 is for an outstanding book of fiction published in 2017

Final judge Donna Walker-Nixon said she “became enthralled with the poetic imagery,” and added that it is “a must-read novel for anyone who wants to learn about the war in Iraq, and for those like me who know virtually nothing about the reality of that war.”

Van Reet was born in Houston and grew up there and in Maryland. Following the September 11 attacks, he left the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar, and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a tank crewman. He served in Iraq under stop-loss orders and received a Bronze Star for valor. After an honorable discharge he completed degrees in English at the University of Missouri and an M.F.A. at the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers.

Van Reet began publishing short fiction in 2008, three years after returning from Iraq. His stories have won the Gulf Coast Prize, been named distinguished stories in the Best American anthology, and twice won the Texas Institute of Letters short story award. His essays and articles have appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere.

Six finalists were named:

Day of All Saints by Patricia Grace King (Miami University Press)

Fever Dogs by Kim O’Neil (Triquarterly)

A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing by Tim Weed (Green Writers Press)

Once, In Lourdes by Sharon Solwitz (Spiegel & Grau)

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson (Ecco)

Pieces by Mary Ann McGuigan (Bottom Dog Press)

Former winners of the Balcones Fiction Prize:

Bystanders by Tara Laskowski, 2016

People Like You by Margaret Malone, 2015

Hold the Dark by William Giraldi, 2014

Girls I Know by Douglas Trevor, 2013

We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen, 2012

Send Me Work by Katherine Karlin, 2011

Love Like Hate by Linh Dinh, 2010