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Girmay wins 2016 Bess Hokin Prize

Aracelis Girmay is the winner of Poetry magazine's 2016 Bess Hokin Prize for three poems from her new book, the black maria: "to the sea," "The Black Maria," and "luam/asa-luam."

The award was established in 1948 through the generosity of Poetry’s late friend and guarantor Mrs. David Hokin, and carries a $1,000 prize. Recent winners of the prize include Terrance Hayes, Claudia Rankine, and Laura Kasischke.

Taking its name from the moon’s dark plains, misidentified as seas by early astronomers, the black maria investigates African diasporic histories, the consequences of racism within American culture, and the question of human identity. Central to this project is a desire to recognize the lives of Eritrean refugees who have been made invisible by years of immigration crisis, refugee status, exile, and resulting statelessness. The recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award for Poetry, Girmay’s newest collection elegizes and celebrates life, while wrestling with the notion of seeing beyond: seeing violence, seeing grace, and seeing each other better.

the black maria is available now at the BOA Bookstore.


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