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Margaret Ray wins the 21st Annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize

Rochester, NY—BOA Editions, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Margaret Ray of Lawrenceville, NJ is the winner of the 21st annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Her winning manuscript, Good Grief, the Ground, was selected by celebrated poet and writer Stephanie Burt from a pool of more than X original submissions. Good Grief, the Ground will be published by BOA Editions in April 2023 as part of the New Poets of America Series with a foreword by Stephanie Burt. Ray will also receive a $1,000 honorarium. 

"It's hard to stay present in this world: to stay not only alive but alertto the Florida thunder, to the waves and their corresponding particles, to the "lumbering monsters" of misgovernment in the cereal aisles, to fear and desire and patriarchy's crossed wires, and to all the ways in which you and I, dear reader, can learn to stand up for ourselves, or even fight back. It's hard, but Margaret Ray's first collection makes it happen. Show and tell, f---/marry/bury, "Cheez-its," "Sweet Fears" and advice from her younger self recur as Ray shows us through herand not only herworld in the American vernacular, the supple free verse, and the technical variety of this stunning, and scary, and honestly fun, collection. Come and see. Take care. Dive in." said Final Judge Stephanie Burt.

In addition to the winning manuscript, Burt selected one runner-up for the prize:


  • Good Grief, the Ground by Margaret Ray


  • Happy Hour in the Decline of Civilization by Jakob Maier

Margaret Ray grew up in Gainesville, Florida.  She is the author of Superstitions of the Mid-Atlantic (2022, selected by Jericho Brown for the 2020 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship Prize). Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2021, Threepenny Review, Narrative, The Gettysburg Review, Poet Lore, Gulf Coast, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.  A winner of the Third Coast Poetry Prize, she holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and teaches in New Jersey.  

Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with eight published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. Her essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense (Graywolf Press, 2009) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her next poetry collection is Advice from the Lights: Poems (Graywolf, 2017). Her other works include Don’t Read Poetry (Basic Books, 2019); The Poem is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them (Harvard UP, 2016); Belmont (2013); The Art of the Sonnet (Harvard University Press, 2010); Something Understood: Essays and Poetry for Helen Vendler (University of Virginia Press, 2009); The Forms of Youth: Adolescence and 20th Century Poetry (Columbia University Press, 2007); Parallel Play: Poems (Graywolf, 2006); Randall Jarrell on W. H. Auden (University Press, 2005); Randall Jarrell and His Age (Columbia University Press, 2002); and Popular Music (Center for Literary Publishing, 1999).

Established in 2000, the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize is awarded annually to honor a poet’s first full-length collection of poetry. The winner is selected each year by a nationally recognized poet from a competitive pool of manuscripts. Winning manuscripts are published within the A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series. Recent Poulin Prize winners have included Improvisation Without Accompaniment by Matt Morton, Documents by Jan-Henry Gray, Cenzontle by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, and When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen. Other renowned debuts in the New Poets of America Series include Rose by Li-Young Lee, Awake by Dorianne Laux, and The Philosopher's Club by Kim Addonizio.

Submissions for the 22nd annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize will be accepted August 1–November 30, 2022 with the winner announced in spring 2023. Eligibility requirements and submission guidelines for the Poulin Prize are available at

BOA Editions, Ltd. is one of the premier independent publishers of contemporary poetry and literary fiction. Founded in 1976 by A. Poulin, Jr. to provide a venue for both new and established poets, BOA has released more than 300 titles, including more than 40 first collections of poetry. Many BOA titles and authors have been recognized with literary awards, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

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