Kerry Banazek’s You, Siphon wins 2018 Brigham Award

Lost Roads Press is thrilled to have selected Kerry Banazek’s manuscript You, Siphon as the winner of the 2018 Brigham Award for Women Writers. Guest Judges Carolyn Hembree and Joan Kane worked with Lost Roads Editor Susan Scarlata to choose this book among a solid field of applicants. Discussion of the poems in You, Siphon circled around the relationships between sentences and fragments established early in the book, the attention to subject, the general charge present throughout the poems, and the many ways that Banazek’s words move through sound. This passage from You, Siphon provides an enticing snippet of the book to come.

                                                                from The Book of Things :: The secret of

                 life is not to remain the same. The same. The same. The same. The

                 secret of life is that you rustle. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh


                 hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh The ratio values are calculated using the original results

                 (including two decimal places). You don’t have to decide now, but we will

                 not be here forever.
                                                       The world gets bored with itself.

                 It feels lucky to be alive.


                 Stridently. Quietly landscapes, carved out of books. In what the old

                 timers call blackberry winter. 

                                                        Despite the sense that absence is my own.
                   A supersensible object. Architecture. Arterial archeaology.

We all have
our grievances.

Many of us can relate, hopefully, to still rustling despite “having our grievances,” and, at times, “getting bored with the world.” Still we rustle. You, Siphon will be available in the winter of 2020 as the sixth winner of the Besmilr Brigham Award for Women Writers. Runners up for this prize include: Hemmed Remnant by Nawal Nader-French, My Tennessee by Cynthia Roth, and Probable Garden by Bronwen Tate. Established in 2012, this award commemorates the work of Besmilr Brigham and publishes work by female-identified poets who live away from publishing centers.

On Materiality and Surreality in Cate Peebles’ Thicket by Rachel Moritz

“Earth’s blue as an orange,” Cate Peebles writes, and “Planets unpeel glassy thin skin,” and in these lines and many more, accreting pleasurably and mysteriously throughout her book, image suspends us in color, texture, sound. There is the speaker's female body. There are two lovers, their hands no where to be seen. There are various human structures, roofs and windows, streets and woodlands, animals (boar and red deer and does dead on the road) and the habitat of the poem with its formal borders: lines, stanzas, narrow rectangles of text on the page.

“It’s been days since the last word came,” Peebles writes, as her words clothe themselves for us to see and see past, strung in the pretend hammock of the poem. Her images feel archival, mixed together so time period dissolves, as if in a giant box or upended glass diorama: a collection of artifacts, archaic in nature, though not always—are they European? Are they American? Root vegetables. Black tulips. An albino peacock. A silver-strung lintel. An escaped dancing bear. This poetry is not rooted in specific place or story, yet it insists on the thing-ness of the world. In this, it is Capricornian, as the speaker says of her sun sign, “a shaggy goat on an alpine ledge,” and it is pleasurably sonic and surprising and smart. 

“How much imaginary string is needed for one fiber/to fray just enough to undo you?” In Cate Peeble’s deft art, the string is unfurled, and we are undone by image just as we exist as bodies that eat her language, well-done.