5th Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize


Judge: Rosanna Warren

The winner of the fifth Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize was Matthew Ladd’s The Book of Emblems.

Mr Ladd, of Brooklyn, New York, USA, received a cheque for $3,000 and Waywiser will publish The Book of Emblems on 19 October 2010.

It took the press’s screening panel two months of careful reading, deliberation and discussion to narrow the field to the group of finalists which, stripped of all identifying reference, was then sent to the 2009 judge, Rosanna Warren. Waywiser’s Senior American Editor, Joe Harrison, rang Mr Ladd with Ms Warren’s decision in the middle of March.

Our congratulations go not just to Mr Ladd and to those whose manuscripts reached the later stages of the contest – the finalists and semi-finalists are listed below – but to everyone else who entered. It is thanks to everyone who participated that the 2009 contest has been another resounding success.

In 2011, Waywiser intends to publish an anthology of poems by contestants who have made it as far as the semi-finals in the five years since the Hecht Prize was inaugurated. If you would like to read poems by the people who made it that far in the 2009 competition, please click on the relevant name and title below. Each poet has a page featuring two of the poems from their manuscript and these are followed by brief biographical notes and publication acknowledgements.


Matthew Ladd, The Book of Emblems


(in name order)

Bruce Berger, Snake Oil

Kimberly Burwick, Horses in the Cathedral

Anthony Deaton, Voice, Compass, Clay

Matt Donovan, Rapture and the Big Bam

Jaimee Hills, Symbolophobia

Karen Holmberg, Axis Mundi

Lesley Jenike, Genius of the Place

Dore Kiesselbach, Strewn Upright

Elizabeth Klise von Zerneck, Stolen

Jay Leeming, Miracle Atlas

Christopher Todd Matthews, No Single Town

Nicole Melanson, Girls on Land

Jessica Piazza, Interrobang

Aaron Poochigian, The Cosmic Purr

Michael Swan, Not What I Meant

Jamie Joel Thomas, Etch and Blur

Matthew Thorburn, Every Possible Blue

D. H. Tracy, Janet’s Cottage

Mike White, Making Out in the Great American Dark