Winner of the 2014 Perugia Press Prize
for a first or second book of poetry by a woman
by Corrie Williamson
The poems in Sweet Husk move between the living and the dead, seeking connection with and through the past, often via the act of digging and excavation (Seamus Heaney’s pen as spade comes to mind). Here, poetry and archaeology reflect one another: what is buried may provide insight into—or, conversely, deepen the mystery of—the ways we engage with the world. The poems are full of matter, of things that matter—artifacts and animals—and build on pattern, series, and echoes, that focus on making/remaking from what is broken, dead, unsung, or left behind. We see how strange, small, and lonely our lives are—dwarfed by our place in a vast landscape—of both topography and time. We see how little we can know about ourselves, even with dedicated cataloguing and search. Language is how we channel, change, and charge experience. Finally, Sweet Husk concerns itself with our human place in the narrative of the earth, and this environmental theme is essential.
Praised by the judges for its bent toward an embodied archaeology, Sweet Husk has a wide sweep that envelops both place and the personal. The poems are inviting, elegant, smart, clean, and grounded.
Corrie Williamson is from Virginia, and currently lives in Helena, Montana, where she teaches at a community college. This is her first book.
Sweet Husk is due to be released in September 2014. To order this book or any other Perugia Press title, please visit our Web site.
Semi-Finalists: Julia Bouwsma, The Art of Pulling Hearts; Mary Buchinger, Aerialist; Maureen Micus Crisick, Pipefitter’s Daughter; Allison Davis, Line; Peg Davis, Right Here, Under the Milky Way; Regina DiPerna, A Map of Veins; Ellen Elder, Mother, Float; Sarah Freligh, Sad Math; Sarah Giragosian, Queer Fish; Jennifer Highland, A Hundred Doors Open; Leah Huizar, Another Empire; Cynthia Manick, Blue Hallelujahs; Lynn Pedersen, The Nomenclature of Small Things; Kristin Robertson, Surgical Wing; Chelsea Wagenaar, Mercy Spurs the Bone.
Perugia Press Prize: A prize of $1000 and publication by Perugia Press is given annually for a first or second unpublished poetry collection by a woman.