A.D. Lauren-Abunassar

1st Place Winner of the 2020 Emerging Poet Prize

“This poem is passionate, yes. It is memorable, yes. But it is also revealing: “Every dream is a little bit jealous / of dying. Every death / is a little relieved.” What does this show? It shows originality. But, then, there is this: “Remember the two gray trees? / Where the neighbor hung himself // in bundles of wire. And our father / was there to untether him.” That’s powerful, yes. But then, the poem goes a step further, reveals more: “Love, I am learning is an act of mercy / Love is an act // of sacrifice. Our father untangling / a jacket from a branch.” That, in the end, is wisdom. Beautiful work.” —Guest Judge, Ilya Kaminsky

A.D. Lauren-Abunassar is an Arab-American writer who resides in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Narrative, Cincinnati Review, Diode, Radar, and elsewhere. She was a 2019 Narrative Poetry Contest finalist, a Narrative 30 Below 30 Finalist, the winner of the 2019 Boulevard Emerging Writers Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.