Cleveland State University Poetry Center

2009 First Book and Open Book Competition Results

We are pleased to announce the results of this year’s Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book and Open Book Competitions. 783 manuscripts were submitted to the two contests, each of which awards publication and a $1000 award.

Scroll down for a complete list of runners-up and finalists


Clamor  by Elyse Fenton, of Austin, TX, was selected by final judge D. A. Powell as the winner of our First Book Award, and will be published in Spring 2010.

Elyse Fenton is the winner of the 2008 Pablo Neruda Award from Nimrod International Literary Journal, and has published poetry and nonfiction in The New York Times, Best New Poets, The Iowa Review, Bat City Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Oregon and divides her time unevenly between Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know by John Bradley of DeKalb, IL, was selected as the winner of our Open Competition by jurors Kazim Ali, Mary Biddinger, Michael Dumanis, and Sarah Gridley, and will be published in Spring 2010.

John Bradley is the author of Love-In-Idleness: The Poetry of Roberto Zingarello (Word Works), Terrestrial Music (Curbstone), and War on Words (BlazeVOX).  He edited Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (Coffee House), Learning to Glow: A Nuclear Reader (University of Arizona Press), and Eating the Pure Light: Homage to Thomas McGrath (Backwaters Press).  He teaches at Northern Illinois University and lives in DeKalb, Illinois, with his wife, Jana, and their cats, Kiki and Zuzu.

In Fall 2010, the Poetry Center will publish three additional titles:
Say So by Dora Malech of Iowa City, IA;
Mule by Shane McCrae of Iowa City, IA; and
Rust or Go Missing by Lily Brown of Chicago, IL


Lily Brown

Lily Brown was born and raised in Massachusetts. She holds degrees from Harvard University and Saint Mary’s College of California. She has published poems in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Fence, Pleiades, 26, and Tarpaulin Sky. Her chapbooks include The Renaissance Sheet (Octopus Books) and Old with You (Kitchen Press). She lives in Chicago and in Athens, where she is a PhD student at the University of Georgia.

Dora Malech

Dora Malech is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser, 2009). Her poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Best New Poets, Denver Quarterly, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Yale Anthology of Younger American Poetry, and elsewhere. She was born in New Haven in 1981, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and holds a BA in Fine Arts from Yale University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught writing at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand; the University of Iowa; Kirkwood Community College; and Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where she is currently a Teaching Fellow. She lives in Iowa City.

Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae holds degrees from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Harvard Law School, and is currently pursuing his PhD in English at the University of Iowa. His poems have appeared in such journals as African American Review, The American Poetry Review, Colorado Review, Effing Magazine, New Orleans Review, and No Tell Motel. His first chapbook, One Neither One, was recently published by Octopus Books.

We would also like to recognize and congratulate the following runners-up and finalists for the awards:

Open Book Competition Runners-Up:

Rob Schlegel, Missoula, MT, Wrack Line: A Sequence
Elizabeth Robinson, Boulder, CO, Three Novels

First Book Competition Runners-Up:

Rebecca Hazelton, Tallahassee, FL, Fair Copy
Barbara Duffey, Salt Lake City, UT, I Might Be Mistaken

Open Book Competition Finalists:

Seth Abramson, Iowa City, IA, Final Boy
Nathalie Anderson, Rutledge, PA, Quiver
Renee Ashley, Ringwood, NJ, The View From the Body
Hadara Bar-Nadav, Kansas City, MO,
  Architecture of the Mouth
Martine Bellen, New York, NY,
  Mothers, Daughters, & Nightbirds
Jason Bredle, Chicago, IL, Smiles of the Unstoppable
Susanna Childress, Holland, MI, Salud, Salud
Mark Conway, Avon, MN, Dreaming Man, Face Down
Julie Doxsee, Istanbul, Turkey, Of Unsuspended Suns
Julie Doxsee, Istanbul, Turkey,
  What Replaces Us When We Go
Dora Malech, Iowa City, IA, Say So
Simone Muench, Chicago, IL, Disappearing Address
Miguel Murphy, Venice, CA, A Morbid Education
Anna Rabinowitz, New York, NY, Present Tense
Zach Savich, Leonardtown, MD, Antique Sun
Rob Schlegel, Missoula, MT, American Bloom
Brandon Shimoda, Seattle, WA, I Shall Love Death as Well
Sean Singer, New York, NY, Carbon Chain
Alpay Ulku, Chicago, IL, The Stiller of Atoms 




First Book Competition Finalists:

Samuel Amadon, Houston, TX, Other People’s Cars
Erica Bernheim, Lakeland, FL, The Halo Effect
Emma Bolden, Georgetown, KY, Malificae
Shane Book, San Francisco, CA, Fourth World
Adam Day, Lexington, KY, Bestiary, Apocrypha
Lucas Farrell, Middlebury, VT, The Many Woods of Grief
Ryan Flaherty, Dover, NH, What’s This, Bombardier?
Barbara Claire Freeman, Berkeley, CA, Incivilities
Emily Kendal Frey, Portland, OR, The Pain Archivist
Regan Good, Brooklyn, NY, The Atlantic House
Eileen G’Sell, St. Louis, MO, Gently Now the Revolutions
Daniel Khalastchi, Milwaukee, WI, Good Loss
Daniel Khalastchi, Milwaukee, WI, The Maturation of Man
Mark Leidner, Tifton, GA, Romantic Comedies
Dawn Lonsinger, Salt Lake City, UT, Fatal Light Awareness
Kyle McCord, Northampton, MA,
  Galley of the Beloved in Torment
Shane McCrae, Iowa City, IA, Mule
Marc McKee, Columbia, MO, Consolationeer
Blueberry Morningsnow, Iowa City, IA, Whale in the Woods
Caryl Pagel, Milwaukee, WI, Emergency
David Semanki, Cambridge, MA, Widescreen
Nicholas Twemlow, Iowa City, IA, Palm Trees
Julie Marie Wade, Louisville, KY, Six
Sasha West, Tucson, AZ, {Forge}
Cori A. Winrock, Ithaca, NY, Anti-Portrait at Flashpoint
Heather Winterer, Santa Fe, NM, The Two Standards
Chris Wong, Fayetteville, AR, Constable and After Constable