THE 2015 AUBURN WITNESS POETRY PRIZE
ABOUT JAKE ADAM YORK
York was an award-winning poet, the celebrated author of four collections of poetry, a fifth-generation Alabamian, and an undergraduate alum of Auburn University. He first came to poetry working with the faculty of Auburn’s Department of English and went on to write poems that, with both love and anguish, examined race relations in the South, celebrating the triumphs of the Civil Rights movement and questioning, as a native son of the South, his own complicity in its tragedies. The earliest versions of these poems—which went on to garner numerous awards and publication honors—can be found in York’s senior thesis, written at Auburn and housed in our library.
Natasha Trethewey, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and former Auburn professor of English, described York’s collection A Murmuration of Starlings as "a fierce, beautiful, necessary book. Fearless in their reckoning, these poems resurrect contested histories and show us that the past—with its troubled beauty, its erasures, and its violence—weighs upon us all . . . a murmuration so that we don't forget, so that no one disappears into history."
York died unexpectedly of a stroke at the age of forty in the winter of 2012, leaving behind a body of work that bears witness to our difficult past, and, as all great poems of witness do, lights a way toward understanding. The Auburn Witness Poetry Prize honors not only York’s work, but also his deep and enduring commitment to his home and community in Alabama and Auburn. Keetje Kuipers, SHR Poetry Editor, has said, “Jake Adam York’s legacy as a writer of deep conviction and fearless examination recasts our gaze, both in Alabama and as a nation: Looking back into a difficult history can be a terrifying proposition, but, as his poems demonstrate, the tremendous reward is a richly renewed sight that allows not only for witness but also for compassion.”
Each entrant can submit up to three poems of witness, along with a $15 reading fee. In exchange, they will receive a one-year subscription to SHR. All entries will be blind-screened and judged by the editors of SHR.
Submit two copies of your submission. Your name, address, e-mail, and phone number should appear on each page of one copy only; the other copy must be free of all identifying information.
One winning poem will be awarded $1,000 and publication in SHR. The winner will be invited to read at the Auburn Writer’s Conference in the fall of 2015.
Two runners-up will be awarded $100 each.
Three to five honorable mentions will also be named.
All runners-up and honorable mentions will be considered for publication in SHR.
We accept simultaneous submissions. To withdraw your submission, notify us by email at email@example.com. Entries must be unpublished. Your submission will not be returned.
Contest results will be announced on our website and social media in August.
Your $15.00 reading fee includes a one-year subscription to SHR (four issues). If you already subscribe, then we will extend your subscription.