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Wick First Book Series
David Hassler, Editor
Maggie Anderson, Founding Editor

The Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize is offered annually to a poet who has not previously published a full-length collection of poems. It is made possible through the Wick Poetry Center, which is directed by David Hassler.

See also: Wick Chapbook Series One
See also: Wick Chapbook Series Two
See also: Wick Chapbook Series Three
See also: Wick Chapbook Series Four

Visible Heavens
Joanna Solfrian - No. 16

“There are poems which carry us clean away, transporting us into worlds as specific as the pink purse the author of Visible Heavens helps a little boy buy for his teacher, Miss Stone. Melancholy and loss, the missing of a gone mother, passion and solitude—stirringly well mixed in one potent brew of a book. Readers will feel at home here, but they’ll also feel ignited with new presences, keenly visible and invisible perceptions—‘It is a gift, this light we carry in our lungs.…’ Cheers to Joanna Solfrian for a fine first book, the stunning deep breath of her voice.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye, Judge

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The Infirmary
Edward Micus - No. 15

“[Edward Micus’s The Infirmary is] a rarity: a mature debut, a first book of poems with time-tested virtues. . . . Unlike many of the Vietnam poems written at the time of the war or shortly thereafter—poems of anger or protest—Edward Micus’s poems are composed, in every sense of that word. They delineate and measure their subjects; they do not advocate or hector; they do not sentimentalize. Many of them, like ‘Ambush Moon’ and ‘So We Shot,’ will take their places among the very best war poems. . . . The Infirmary is a book that keeps deepening its concerns. For all its early charm, it pretties up nothing. Yet it’s not without humor, and its prose interludes are written with the same care that the poems themselves exhibit.”
—Stephen Dunn, Judge

Far From Algiers
Djelloul Marbrook - No. 14

“How honored I am—how lucky—to have been able to choose this superb first book by Djelloul Marbrook that honors a lifetime of hidden achievement. . . . Sometimes the poems seem utterly symbolic, surreal; they are philosophical, historical, psychological, political, and spiritual. The genius is in the many ways these poems can be read. I kept being rewarded by new awarenesses of the poet’s intentions, by the breadth and scope of the manuscript. As I read, I felt more and more that it was impossible that this was a first book. It seemed the writer knew exactly what to say, and, more importantly, exactly what to leave out.”
—Toi Derricotte, Judge

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Constituents of Matter
Anna Leahy - No. 13

“Found in these pages is simple profundity, desire unmitigated, the things we wish for each other, the science of absolutes so easy to understand, and so devastating: these poems put complex moments in such a straightforward context that we grasp not simply the words but the full feeling as something we have felt in some kind of similar vocabulary.”—Alberto Ríos, Judge

Ariana-Sophia M. Kartsonis - No. 12

“The image evoked by Intaglio, this first collection by Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis, rests on a paradox, one perhaps central to the poetic impulse itself: that design can be shaped by what is cut away, by the loss that surrounds it, so that what is missing creates the negative space which raises the figure in relief, presents it to sight, and touch. Relief: a word whose two meanings—one artistic and material, the other emotional and intangible, together suggest how art engraves meaning.”—Eleanor Wilner, Judge

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Trying to Speak
Anele Rubin - No. 11

“The voice [in Anele Rubin’s poems] is so new, and yet the movement is so artful, subtle, and modest—there are never any theatrics in these poems. They never yowl, Pay attention to me! . . . Rubin is on the same wave-length with Tomas Tranströmer and Yehuda Amichai. . . . The emotional range of her poems, like theirs, is enormous, as is the range of locales, many of which I know well, and yet in Trying to Speak, they appear with a clarity that had eluded me.”
—Philip Levine, Judge

Rooms and Fields
Dramatic Monologues from the War in Bosnia
Lee Peterson - No. 10

“These poems are full of surprises: the gods talk; ancient authors talk; the dictionary talks; the dead talk; wolves talk; a teacher talks, with a chorus. Sometimes I like to imagine this long poem being staged. What the music would be! Who would do the sets! What languages...”
—Jean Valentine

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The Drowned Girl
Eve Alexandra - No. 9

“Eve Alexandra wields a tender, sharp honesty. The lines cut and dice, arc and glimmer in the light of her lyricism and intelligence. These poems will open you, make you bleed, make you wonder.”
—Terrance Hayes

Back Through Interruption
Kate Northrop - No. 8

Kate Northrop's Back Through Interruption is a deeply moving and thought-provoking collection of poetry. It takes the reader through a world that is at once beautiful and tragic, sacrosanct and profane.

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Paper Cathedrals
Morri Creech - No. 7

Paper Cathedrals confronts the tensions between the here and the hereafter, gravity and grace, and religious faith and an allegiance to the passing, sensual world.

The Gospel of Barbecue
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers - No. 6

The Gospel of Barbecue is aptly titled. Honorée Jeffers's poems are sweet and sassy, hot and biting, flavored in an exciting blend of precise language and sharp and surprising imagery that delights.”
—Lucille Clifton

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Beyond the Velvet Curtain
Karen Kovacik - No. 5

Karen Kovacik's poetry takes us on an amusement-park ride through world history and art, illustrating Czeslaw Milosz's dictum that “the purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person.”

The Apprentice of Fever
Richard Tayson - No. 4

“Tayson's voice is unmistakable: direct, witty, passionate and desperate, in poems with the crucial acid to etch themselves into the reader's consciousness.”
—Marilyn Hacker

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Intended Place
Rosemary Willey - No. 3

“Rosemary Willey cannot keep her mind off the real things of this world, touching life where it feels good and where it pains, always snapping the chanced wishbone, and we are richer for her daring talent.”
—Yusef Komunyakaa

Lisa Coffman - No. 2

“Imagine a love of small towns ringed by mountains, a shrewd ear for lonely folks' dialogue, and a music that seems to pour out of your own life as you read these poems. Likely is a book brimming with surprises and beauty; it left me breathless.”
—Alicia Suskin Ostriker

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Already the World
Victoria Redel - No. 1

“I like Victoria Redel's poems because of their braveness and their lucidity....There is no flight here to incoherence; the poems speak plainly and, in some cases, beautifully. The music is lovely and the tone, distinctive....”
—Gerald Stern

Wick Poetry Center also sponsors scholarship awards, a reading series, and an annual Chapbook competition for Ohio poets. For guidelines, write to David Hassler, Director, Wick Poetry Center, Department of English, Kent State University, P.O. Box 5190, Kent OH 44242-0001.

Of related interest:

The Next of Us Is About to Be Born
The Wick Poetry Series Anthology: In Celebration of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Wick Poetry Center
Edited by Maggie Anderson

The World Underneath
Richard Tayson

Browse other poetry titles


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