We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2023 Palette Chapbook Prize! Please help us congratulate Ava Chen and our finalists and longlisted poets. Deep gratitude to all who shared excellent chapbooks with us. The winning chapbook was selected by guest judge Danez Smith and will receive a $2000 award, free digital publication, and 50 complimentary physical copies in Fall 2024.
Winner of the 2023 Palette Chapbook Prize
Ava Chen for Habitual Prayer
Ava Chen is a student writer from Massachusetts. The founding Editor-in-Chief of Sophon Lit and a Genre Managing Editor for Polyphony Lit, her writing has been recognized by The Adroit Prizes, Columbia College Chicago, The Poetry Society of the UK, and more. Ava’s poetry has also appeared in or is forthcoming with Diode, The Penn Review, and elsewhere. When not writing, you can find her taking very long walks or playing piano for her two pet turtles. She hopes you have a wonderful day.
Of the winning chapbook, Danez Smith said:
Habitual Prayer seems like a fitting and off title all at once. Sure, these poems indeed are imbued with all power, intention, mystery, and beauty of prayer, but nothing is habitual, routine, or ordinary about how this poet approaches language. From the first poem where “too many dahlias/grow taller than angels” to the last where the poem proclaims “I expect blood/when I crack open/my wallet,” again and again in this brief but stunning collection i found myself tripping over language so fresh and wise, at times ancient and at times from from electric dreamy future, making new all the places we poets have looked to find out work: into death, into the garden, towards love, and into the mirror. “Habitual Prayer” has made me a fan of this poet’s magic, how they transfigure language into these precise, lush spells and invocations that unsettle me so. The greedy prayer I cast out to my gods: please, please, more of this, more from this poet.
Danez Smith named Dujie Tahat‘s chapbook AM I NOT OF THE SAME CUT STONE as the runner-up.
Post-Traumatic by Beatrice Lazarus
A MIRROR OF BURNING PANTHERS by Clif Mason
micro.climates by David Maduli
Grass Widow by Kathie Collins
Hindsight by Mack Rogers
Family Geography by Maggie Wolff
Tan’s Donuts by Maya Cheav
Aubade with Factory and Rain by Tatiana Gómez
hanta t. samsa
James K. Zimmerman
Julia C. Alter
Mildred Kiconco Barya
Suzannah Van Gelder