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2020 Perugia Press Prize
for a First or Second Book by a Woman

Prize: $1000 and publication
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  by Abby E. Murray

Winner of the 2019 Perugia Press Prize
for a first or second book of poetry by a woman

Cover art by Meredith Bergmann / Cover art photo by John Bigelow Taylor
In an artist's note in the book, Bergmann writes about her sculpture,
"Response to Random Murder I: September 11, 2001, New York City, 2,996 dead": 

"The image of the woman came to me when I was thinking about the Houris, the virgins who were supposed to be waiting for the terrorists in Paradise, and what a travesty that idea made of all that is truly feminine.  I imagined them being greeted by this woman, instead: a human being who has survived and absorbed an attack."
Check out what Ellen Bass wrote in support of Hail and Farewell:

" 'Only girls / had the grit to transform themselves' Abby E. Murray writes in Hail and Farewell, her fine first collection of poems. Murray has grit to spare, examining in intimate, often devastating detail what it means to be a pacifist married to a soldier. Both insider and outsider, the speaker in these poems interrogates military culture, war, and violence with insight and compassion. 'Bones,' written at the bedside of a wounded soldier, describes 'shrapnel / spiraling up the leg…like / morning glories curling round a fencepost.' Through such haunting image and metaphor, Murray deftly weaves the personal and the political. In 'Lunch at the War College' she writes 'we fattened you up for war, / let the army pick you up / like a turkey in winter, upside down, / let it drag you into the barn.' There are flashes of humor as well, a graduation from Ranger School where the wives show up 'threaded into silk thongs / …❤️ My Ranger panties.' Some of the book’s best poems wrestle with the eternal and unanswerable: 'Women write poems for their sons / because the mountain range outside / is a pile of boys stacked one upon the other,' she writes. 'How Can I Tell You This' is equally heart wrenching: 'Mornings come with news: / red flowers have opened / beneath a man’s white t-shirt / and I want to tell my daughter / the burning petals aren’t hers or mine, / but how can I?' For those of us who have the luxury of not thinking about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hail and Farewell is necessary reading, reminding us what sacrifice looks like."


Author photo by Jenny L. Miller

ABBY E. MURRAY completed her MFA at Pacific University and her Ph.D. in English at SUNY Binghamton, where this book was written. She’s taught creative writing at high school and university levels and currently teaches argumentative writing to U.S. Army War College fellows sent to the University of Washington. Abby is the editor of Collateral, a literary journal concerned with the impact of violent conflict and military service beyond the combat zone, and as the 2019-2021 poet laureate for the city of Tacoma, Washington, she offers free poetry workshops around Pierce County, including at military posts and detention centers for undocumented youth. This is her first book. 

PO Box 60364, Florence, MA  01062