T H E   B E S T   N E W   W O M E N   P O E T S

2019 Perugia Press Prize
for a First or Second Book by a Woman

Prize: $1000 and publication
Submit manuscripts between August 1 and November 15, 2018



Editor/Director Rebecca Hart Olander was featured in the September 7 "Art Maker" column of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She speaks about her own writing process and supporting her student writers and the women poets of Perugia Press. And, in the "Book Bag" column of the same issue, you'll find the first post-publication review for Megan Peak's Girldom, the 2018 Perugia Press Prize winner. Thanks to writer Steve Pfarrer, photographer Sarah Crosby, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette newspaper for highlighting the work of our poets and editor!

Reviews of the 2017 Perugia Press Prize winner, L. I. Henley's Starshine Road, were published recently in a print edition of Main Street Rag by Leanna Stead, and online at Sticks and Stones by Erica Goss and at RHINO Poetry by Sonja Johanson. Here's an excerpt from RHINO's September review: "Henley’s gaze is unshrinking; she directs our view to rust, junk, discarded shoes, flash floods, poverty and death. But Henley’s stark descriptors are not a denunciation. The thieving grackle is pearlescent, desert lilies bloom red, and a tooth-sized crystal shines in the dirt. These are love poems, but honest ones, written for a place and a life simultaneously hard and precious."

2015 Perugia Press Prize winner Jenifer Browne Lawrence was interviewed recently by Jordan Hartt for Kahini. The poet has this to say about working with Perugia Press on Grayling: "I can’t praise Perugia Press highly enough ... all the staff and my fellow Perugia poets feel like an extended family. They treated me and my work respectfully and intelligently—the whole process felt like the celebration of a birth—and I suppose it was."


2009 Perugia Press Prize-winner Jennifer K. Sweeney's poem "Weathering" was read aloud by Emily Gwinn for NPR Public Radio station Spokane Public Radio's "Poetry Moment" on September 6. The poem comes from Sweeney's Perugia collection How to Live on Bread and Music, which also won the 2009 James Laughlin Award for the Academy of American Poets.


2007 Perugia Press Prize winner Lynne Thompson was interviewed by Mariano Zaro for Poetry.LA. Thompson reads her poem "To Blackness" from her Perugia book Beg No Pardon, which begins at 10:45 in this terrific piece (though we suggest listening to the whole piece to hear Thompson's thoughts on ancestors, memory, music, coming to poetry after practicing law, hearing from founding editor Susan Kan on winning post-publication awards for Beg No Pardon, breaking stereotypes of "the other" in her poetry, the new projects she has cooking, and even Beyonce's Lemonade!).


Diane Gilliam's Kettle Bottom was recently reviewed in Glass: A Journal of Poetry (March 2018, Ohio Poets Edition).
Thanks to reviewer Karen J. Weyant for highlighting the timeless quality of Gilliam's work: "For better or for worse, coal miners and the coal industry have recently been thrust into the limelight... I want to tell [readers] to forget the current politics. I want to tell them to forget what most contemporary media outlets are reporting. But what I really want to tell them is to read Kettle Bottom by Diane Gilliam Fisher, perhaps one of the best poetry books ever written. Kettle Bottom, published by Perugia Press in 2004, examines the years of 1920-21 in West Virginia, a period of tension and unrest in coal country. Divided into three sections, Fisher's collection intertwines a variety of voices, including wives, mine workers, and community children, all the while seeking to capture a time that is seemingly forgotten."

N E W   R E L E A S E :   Available on our website!

  by Megan Peak

Winner of the 2018 Perugia Press Prize
for a first or second book of poetry by a woman


"In Girldom, Megan Peak writes, 'For each girl / I’ve ever been, I call a detective.' And what can the investigations yield but her body, her sister, her sexuality? What is a girl but a foal who can’t live, the dull utility of boxes, the sting of wasp and nettle, a tender bleeding in the snow? Peak’s love of language and of women, her indictment of male violence and self-blame, her brave and artful exploration of trauma and its aftermath are but a few of the reasons to cherish this debut. Peak’s growth narrative is a complex emotional experience rather than a linear one, her material investigated through the lens of a queer survivor of sexual violence in poems alternately angry, luscious, chilling, and rhapsodic: evidence ample and accessible enough to challenge, affect—and, I daresay, change—a reader."
                                                                                                —Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore

Megan Peak received her MFA in Poetry from The Ohio State University, where she was poetry editor at The Journal. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and Verse Daily, among others. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more about Megan and her poetry at www.meganpeak.com.


PO Box 60364, Florence, MA  01062