Fordham University’s Poets Out Loud (POL) annual book prize winners were announced on Oct. 25th. They are:

Gary Keenan, a New York City poet who was chosen as the POL prize winner for his manuscript Rotary Devotion, and New Englander Michael Snediker, winner of the Editor’s Prize for his manuscript The New York Editions, who is currently teaching in Houston. Next fall Fordham University Press will publish the winners’ submissions, and a book launch will be held.

After the sudden and tragic death of the poet C.D. Wright, who had been chosen to decide this year’s POL prize winner, fellow poet Alice Fulton was asked to step in as a judge. On Keenan’s Rotary Devotion she wrote: “Rotary Devotion is deeply attentive to the rigors and joys of being alive, and it conveys this consciousness with delicacy and wit.”

POL co-director Elisabeth Frost, Ph.D., who edits the book prize series, selected Snediker as the Editor’s prize winner and wrote: “I am familiar with no other poet who creates such a sensual and embodied language, while at the same time providing such intellectual richness.”

Founded in 1999, the POL book prize series selects between hundreds of entries each year. Two are published. “We receive manuscripts of extraordinary quality and beauty,” writes Frost. “We truly regret that our resources do not allow us to publish more volumes.”

POL co-director Heather Dubrow, Ph.D., assisted in the competition as a preliminary reader, and screened over 25 entries. “Any screener of these manuscripts realizes how much first-rate poetry there is out there, and hence what an honor it is to win or be listed as a finalist,” she said. “The prize books bring national visibility to the POL program.”

In 2017 the Poets Out Loud reading series will celebrate its 25th anniversary. The series hosts free public readings at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, wherein poets are invited to read their work to an audience. You can learn more about these events here.

Kiran Singh