The Balcones Poetry Prize for 2011 awarded to Bone Fires by Mark Jarman

Mark Jarman
Mark Jarman

The Balcones Center for Creative Writing at Austin Community College is pleased to announce the 2011 Balcones Poetry Prize. The prize of $1,500 recognizes an outstanding book of poetry published during the year.

Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems by Mark Jarman, published by Sarabande Books, collects poems from his eight previous books spanning 30 years along with a generous selection of new poems. The title poem, recalling the original meaning of “bonfire” as a religious ritual to ensure the return of light from the darkness of winter, points to the essentially spiritual nature of Jarman’s lifelong poetic quest. The judges were impressed by the “clarity and simplicity of his diction, the musicality and cadence of his voice and keenness of perception in which ordinary experience is rendered luminous and the extraordinary, transcendent.” “The language is simple and straightforward, but beautifully rendered and able to show complicated ideas and feelings as if they were tangible things.” He “listens like truth”…and offers poems that are “nothing less than the soul’s labour, it’s singing.”

Jarman has won numerous awards and fellowships, from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim foundation, the Academy of Amercan poets and many others. He is a professor of English at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

The poet will visit Austin Community College to read from his work March 27, 2013.

Four finalists were also named:

  • Songs of Unreason, Jim Harrison (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Space, In Chains, Laura Kasischke (Copper Canyon Press)
  • The Politics, Benjamin Paloff (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
  • The World Falls Away, Wanda Coleman (University of Pittsburgh Press)

The judges for the 2011 prize were Paula Mendoza Hanna, an Austin poet and recent MFA graduate from the University of Michigan, Austin poet and photographer David Jewell, and Richard Price, poet and professor of English at Austin Community College.

Former winners:

  • Chase Twichell, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, 2010
  • Bill Berkson, Portrait and Dream, 2009
  • Michael McGriff, Dismantling the Hills, 2008
  • Aimee Nezhukumatahil, At the Drive–In Volcano, 2007
  • Lorna Dee Cervantes, Drive, 2006
  • Aaron Anstett, No Accident, 2005
  • Lorenzo Thomas, Dancing on Main Street, 2004
  • John Hogden, Bread Without Sorrow, 2002
  • Carol Potter, Short History of Pets, 2001
  • Dana Levin, In the Surgical Theatre, 2000
  • Arthur Sze, The Red-Shifting Web, 1999
  • Reginald Gibbons, Sparrow: New and Selected Poems, 1997
  • Lucia Perillo, The Body Mutinies, 1996
  • Kathleen Halme, Every Substance Clothed, 1995

The deadline for nominations for the 2012 Balcones Poetry Prize is January 31, 2013.

For more information:
John Herndon, Associate Director
The Balcones Center for Creative Writing
Austin Community College
1212 Rio Grande Street
Austin, Texas 78701

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