THE ANNUAL PUERTO DEL SOL POETRY & PROSE CONTEST
Since 2017, Puerto del Sol has published one work of prose and one poem as winners of our annual contest. These contest winners are selected with the help of well-known writers, serving as final judges. Contest submissions will be open from March 1st to September 1st of each year.
Puerto del Sol is currently accepting contest submissions until September 1, 2023. The prose finalists will be judged by Amanda Goldblatt and the poetry finalists will be judged by Wo Chan.
From Poetry Judge Wo Chan on the winning poem:
"July Fourth Parade" is a poem that speaks to this question with vigor and vivid impression. The reader is placed loping in parading couplets, stumbling into the pageantry of a performer wearing a two-part horse costume who "nods" and "struts", (winkingly making somewhat of an ass of herself), while true horses watch in horror. When she takes off her "phony neck and mane" the "horror-struck / beasts ... neigh, tremble stamp... / as the crowd brays with laughter". The chiasmus between "Who is human?" and "Who is animal?" happens over and over again in this poem. It is a haunting transferrence, reminding us of the anti-indigenous violence committed by settlers who held their White, Christian humanity over those whom they believed to be lesser, subhuman races as justification for genocide and as manifest for the formation of the United States. Each year, the parade continues, and the myth is reinforced, suspending this poem into the heightened metaphor that is. Animal or not, it is the horses who feel fear; it is the crowd who brays mockingly at real, felt terror; and, it is the performer who removes her mask, and progressively finds her own face changed.
From Prose Judge Amanda Goldblatt on the winning story:
I admire “These and Other Fine Ingredients” for its confident use of confusion and abstraction; in this story, contextualizing and grounding exposition will not hold your hand. The material world, seen in lyric clauses, is gently absurd and so specific as to be defamiliarized. It is a Detroit that is like our Detroit, but different; the city on the page is not a caricature but rather an embossing of real inequities. A wayward business traveler from another country is pulled under a wave of enthusiastic corporate derangement: it is the story of becoming an object, of losing time and self in the heat of late capitalism in a foreign country. It captures the incomplete sadness of losing something you never quite loved, and the remote horror of greeting whatever will take its place. Funny, destabilizing, and with kinship in the work of both Cristina Rivera Garza and Alexandra Kleeman, this story is the work of a fine writer who understands that distortion reveals truth.
PAST WINNERS AND JUDGES
POETRY: "I have never seen a wild poetic loaf of bread" | Judge Anthony Cody
PROSE: "Exoticolalia" | Judge Kali Fajardo-Anstine
POETRY: "The Stain" by Bernardo Wade | Judge Todd Dillard
PROSE: "Mother's Milk" by Alexa Dodd | Judge Eileen Pollack
POETRY: "American Sonnet for My Medical History" by Babette Cieskowski | Judge Rodney Gomez
PROSE: "is the watermelon sweet?" by Emily Yang | Judge Vi Khi Nao
POETRY: "The Room Divider" by Rainie Oet | Judge Emily Pérez
PROSE: "The Misdeeds of the Root" by Bridget Brewer | Judge Camille Acker
POETRY: “Langauge in Question” by Benjamin Garcia | Judge Farid Matuk
PROSE: “How I Came to Live Here Now” by Sean Alan Cleary | Judge Danielle Dutton
POETRY: “Cuadrado de Sabzeh” by Natalie De Paz | Judge Carmen Giménez-Smith
PROSE: “The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” by Shane Kowalski | Judge Lily Hoang