The Editors of Puerto del Sol would like to thank everyone who submitted their work to the 2020 Poetry and Prose Contest. Our winners were chosen by Rodney Gomez and Vi Khi Nao respectively.
2020 Poetry Contest Winner: "American Sonnet for My Medical History" by Babette Cieskowski
Chosen by Rodney Gomez:
"'American Sonnet for My Medical History' is an unrelenting, high-energy soliloquy. I admire the poem’s tonal balance—resisting both hyperbole and retread. I admire the silky way the lines move across the page without a stumble and how the internal rhyme snowballs towards an ending. I admire the imagery in the poem, the simple descriptions that disguise, then reveal, trauma. I admire the plain testimony and the honest (hopeful?) appraisal in the last two lines. Most of all I admired the poem’s story and how skillfully I was drawn into it. This poem called me to read and reread it, and for that I am grateful."
2020 Prose Contest Winner: "is the watermelon sweet?" by Emily Yang
Chosen by Vi Khi Nao:
"Highly controlled and psychically nuanced, 'is the watermelon sweet?' traverses between the unspeakable phantom world of the unanswered and the living with heartbreaking emotional fluency and cultural density. Its immediate humor is apt and its narrator is quite (startlingly) endearing. It’s exactly twenty-five pages, but it feels very novelistic and so thoughtfully composed and compressed. I felt, after reading it several times, like I had led a thousand lives with a butcher knife hidden inside a pillow. At any given moment, I would be compelled to butcher a chicken. Not for protection. But for narrative effect and longing. After each reading, I would feel this gripping fire to start the piece from its beginning again. It’s that addictive. The writing is so masterful that I could taste the details with such exact ontological fiber. It’s literary material made entirely of human filament."
Finalists for Poetry:
"Visiting Side B" by Rachel Crawford
"Dream Ending in a Lover Burning my Mother's Wedding Gown" by torrin a. greathouse
"Every Time I Go Back Is Encoded in Pi" by Annie Christain
"8th Day" by Marcy Rae Henry
"Upon Never Meeting My Father" by Felicia Zamora
"aurify" by Renia White
"A Compendium of Essential Knots" by Kathryn Merwin
"The Spring Before" by Daniel DeVaughn
"il y a toujours du brouillard" by S K Grout
Finalists for Prose:
"Man with the Missing Mouth" by Meiko Ko
"Dynamite" by Jayne Wilson
"To Be Good" by Katerina Ivanov
"Two" by Hannah Fookes
"Lucky Boy" by Suzanne LaFetra
"The Face of Debt" by Raul Palma
"The Beautiful Girl from Sanshin" by Emma Choi
"Dakhma" by Dean Gessie
About our Judges:
Rodney Gomez is the author of Ceremony of Sand (YesYes Books, 2019) and Citizens of the Mausoleum (Sundress Publications, 2018), as well as several chapbooks. He’s the winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize, and the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize. A member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop and the Chocholichex writing collective, he serves as an editor at Latino Book Review and works at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Vi Khi Nao is the author of Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (1913 Press, 2017), A Brief Alphabet of Torture (FC2, 2017), Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016) and The Old Philosopher (Nightboat Books, 2016). She was born in Long Khánh, Vitenam, and lives in Iowa City, Iowa. For more information visit her website.
"American Sonnet for My Medical History" and "is the watermelon sweet?" will be published online early this fall!