Pleiades Press is pleased to announce The Best Prey by Paige Quiñones was selected by Tiana Clark as the winner of the 2020 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, and will be published in 2021. Tiana Clark praised the book, saying, “The Best Prey is a lush collection converging at the vibrating intersection of danger and desire. There is a vibrant audacity here, especially in a line like, “I have felt Satan / between my legs & perhaps / craved him….” These pulsating poems untangle and interrogate love, mental health, desire, family, and Latinx heritage. This is a poet who loves playing around the field of the page with great formal dexterity. Terrance Hayes writes, “Yes, I have a pretty good idea what beauty is. It survives / alright. It aches like an open book.” And I felt that beautiful aching stitched inside the speaker’s distinctive voice with precise shifts to cinematic imagery. I felt that powerful, beating heart thump stanza after stanza. After finishing the book, I was reminded of what Sylvia Plath referred to as the blood jet of poetry, that rush after I encounter Sharon Olds or Sandra Cisneros on the page—I felt that same muscular vigor and sensual, sensory somatic oomph waterfalling throughout these poems!”
Thank you to all entrants to the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize.
Tiana Clark named Seeing the Big Dog by Katharine Ogle and Anchor to a Floating City by Gretchen Steele Pratt as Honorable Mentions.
We would also like to commend the other finalists and semi-finalists, whose manuscripts in our opinion were all outstanding and publishable.
Finalists: Jacqueline Balderrama, Melissa Ginsburg, Natalie Homer, Matthew Minicucci, Shelley Puhak, Cintia Santana, and Jacob Sunderlin
Semifinalists: Rebecca Baggett, Heather Derr-Smith, Amanda Galvan Huynh, Anita Olivia Koester, Peter Grandbois, Valerie Hsiung, Benjamin Landry, Erika Luckert, Julia Paganelli Marin, Ansley Moon, Emily Pulfer-Terino, Sara Ryan, Sophia Starmack, Gale Marie Thompson, Cheryl Clark Vermeulen, and Suzanne Wise
Paige Quiñones is a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Houston, where she is the Managing Editor at Gulf Coast. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Adroit Journal, Barrow Street Review, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Muzzle Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Prelude, Sixth Finch, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. She is also the recipient of an Inprint Donald Barthelme Poetry Award selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi.