We are honored to share with everyone the winners, finalists, and longlist of the 2020 Sappho Prize, selected by Victoria Chang!
A big thank you to all the women who made this such a tough decision this year. So honored to lift you up and to read your work.
Winners of the 2020 Sappho
1st — Faylita Hicks, for “I Tried Dating Again” (to be published on October 28, 2020)
“‘I Tried Dating Again’ is fierce and beautiful at the same time. The poem deploys gorgeous imagery and caesuras to manage rhythms. Energy and beauty are two words that keep entering my mind while reading Faylita Hicks.” — Victoria Chang
Faylita Hicks’s debut collection, HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), has been named a finalist for the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Poetry and the Julie Suk Award. They are the Editor-in-Chief of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and their work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Longreads, The Rumpus, the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, Huffington Post, Slate, Cincinnati Review, and others. They have been offered fellowships and residencies from Tin House, Lambda Literary, Jack Jones Literary Arts, and the Right of Return USA program for previously incarcerated artists. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada University and are working on a second poetry collection and multi-media project entitled ARCO while living in San Marcos, TX.
2nd — Yvette Siegert, for “Papier-mâché” (to be published on October 21, 2020)
“I love the use of line here by Yvette Sigert—how the pacing of the poem is controlled via the line and the phrase, alternating between the short and long phrase or sentence within the larger capsule of the long line. Beautifully rendered poem.” — Victoria Chang
Yvette Siegert is a CantoMundo Poetry Fellow and winner of the 2019 Oxford/Lord Alfred Douglas Poetry Prize, and her critically-acclaimed translations of Alejandra Pizarnik’s late poetry, Extracting the Stone of Madness: Poems 1962–1972 (New Directions), won the 2017 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Magma, Boston Review, The White Review, The Literary Review, Gulf Coast, Aufgabe, North American Review, 6×6, Guernica, St Petersburg Review, Berlin Quarterly, Oxford Review of Books, The Scores, and the Broken Sleep Anthology of Immigrant Writing (2021). She is currently a doctoral candidate in Latin American literature at Merton College, University of Oxford.
3rd — Natasha Rao, for “Abecedarian on Shame” (to be published on October 14th, 2020)
“I admire the form of this poem, as I find Abecedarians hard to write. Natasha Rao’s work deftly uses the form in a natural and organic way, shifting between imagery and narrative. The final image of the zinnia is stunning.” — Victoria Chang
Natasha Rao holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. Natasha has received support from the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and her work can be found or is forthcoming in The Offing, Rattle, The Margins, and Narrative. She is currently the deputy editor of American Chordata and lives in Brooklyn.
féi hernandez, for “Coming Out or Undone.”
Marianne Chan, for “WATCHING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT IMELDA MARCOS, I THINK ABOUT THE BOTTOMS OF MY COUSIN’S FEET.”
Christell Victoria Roach, for “Quartering”
Rozanne Gold, for “Kitchen Work”
Itiola Jones, for “Vanity”
Ann-Marie Blanchard, for “Inside Me Are Icebergs That Make It Hard to Dance”
Margot Douaihy, for “Don’t”
Mary Jo Thompson
Bethany Schultz Hurst
Daimys Ester García
Jennifer Davis Michael
Mary Jo Thompson