We are proud to announce that Aracelis Girmay has won the 2015 Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for a group of poems from her new book, the black maria! The $500 Strousse Award is given in honor of Flora Strousse. Girmay's new collection continues to shine in the media spotlight, recently receiving numerous reviews and features from such places as O, The Oprah Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Late Night Library, and Iron Horse Review.
Named an "Editor's Pick" for O Magazine’s list of "19 Books to Read in April," the black maria was also included on the "Rigoberto González list of 23 essential new books by Latino poets" from the Los Angeles Times.
In a new Late Night Library interview, Girmay talks in beautiful detail about inspiration, stories, and joy, noting how poetry tells stories differently than history: "I think poetry and oral history and spoken story is/are all full of varying musics and moments of imperfections and openings in the musics and emotional register(s) of the piece."
In an Iron Horse Review interview with BOA poet Chen Chen (whose book When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities won the 2016 A. Poulin, Jr. Prize), Girmay discusses how the new book came together. She says: “For the black maria, there was a wrestling with this work of making and seeing and trying to say/show/speak through 'my trouble' (as Pat Rosal calls it) that I felt committed to sharing. There is a lot of grief and wreck here. But also it's an attempt to recall and name life. Reach toward it. Love. And so I thought a lot about wanting to create moments of windows or doorways that open up directly (and explicitly) into those spaces. Of course, all of it—the goodness and the joy and the absolute grief about how we fail each other or hold each other captive—is all always there."
Click below to read more about these wonderful highlights for the black maria:
- Official Prairie Schooner Strousse Award announcement
- O Magazine's list of "19 Books to Read in April"
- Los Angeles Times' "List of 23 essential new books by Latino poets"
- Late Night Library interview with Aracelis Girmay
- Iron Horse Review interview with Aracelis Girmay