Sonora Review is proud to announce the winners of our 2016 Poetry, Essay, and Fiction Contests. Each winner will receive $1000 and publication in SR Issue 70, forthcoming this September. The editors would like to thank all contestants for sharing their work with us as well as the judges for their generosity of time and spirit. We received 356 submissions across three genres. 2017 contests will open in the spring.
Congratulations to winners Renia White, Danielle Zaccagnino, and Sean Gill!
2016 Poetry Prize
Winner: “casual conversation” by Renia White
Judge Mathias Svalina’s thoughts:
“casual conversation” has the confidence to take on issues of dire importance & think through them with the logic of poetry. It has faith, not only in the God it thanks but in the power art has to allow a new & better understanding of the world. It is a poem of terrible things wonderfully conjured & assayed.
1st Runner-up: “The Wilting Field” by Jennifer Givhan
2nd Runner-up: “Movements of the Scapula” by Mary Block
“To See a Baby in a Dream” and “Self Portrait as Siren, as Fig” by Clare Paniccia
“Nervous” and “Intrusive Thoughts” by Nicole Connolly
“The Enlarged World” by Jessica Guzman Alderman
“Be Wilder” and “Faith, South Dakota” by Kelsi Vanada
“Still Sensate Life with Blazing” by Michael Tod Edgerton
2016 Essay Prize
Winner: “Hardwired” by Danielle Zaccagnino
Judge Elena Passarello’s thoughts:
“Hardwired” was a nimble read—swift and feeling. The essay paints its characters beautifully and renders the unique experience of a life under the thumb of anxiety with clarity and care. The author’s discussion of what it means to be a daughter on the verge of her motherhood is memorable, especially because she reached beyond the trappings of her personal mother-daughter situation into history, research, culture, and the mothers and daughters around her. This made for a layered and nuanced read, and one that stood out among several finely-tuned essays.
1st Runner-up: “Points of Interest” by LaTanya McQueen
2nd Runner-up: “Waterbugs: An Absolution” by Clinton Peters
“The Shoot and the Show” by Caroline Crew
“Holding Onto Fire” by Tammy Delatorre
“Grief App” by Beth Roddy
“What I hear is the Murmur” by Ruihe Zhang
“White Whale” by Jason Arment
“On Why I Wish We Could All Wear Our Dreams On The Outside, Tattooed To Our Skin” by Laura Distelheim
2016 Fiction Prize
Winner: “Beyond the Terminus, Beyond” by Sean Gill
Judge Molly Antopol’s thoughts:
It was challenging to select a winner – so many of the finalists’ stories were strong. In the end, I chose “Beyond the Terminus, Beyond” because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I admire the story for so many reasons: the characters are complicated and nuanced, the prose is tight and lyrical, and the author explores complicated moral questions in a way that feels fresh, intelligent and never didactic. This is a gorgeous story by a writer with talent in spades.
1st Runner-up: “La Petite Morte” by Laura Legge
2nd Runner-up: “Large Animals” by Jess Arndt
“Girls Needed $200/HR Weekends and Nights” by Cady Vishniac
“The Octopus” by Dane Graham
“My Past and Future Selves Wait Quietly on the Stairs” by Emily Temple
“Something” by Catherine Dupree
“Devil in Paradise” by Samantha Atkins
“Esther Flying” by Gabriela Garcia
“The Quiet Yellowing of Birds” by María Alvarez
About the winners:
Renia White received her MFA from Cornell University where she’s a lecturer teaching writing. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The New Guard, Stone Canoe, The Offing, Prelude, and elsewhere. In 2015, she received the Hurston/Wright Founding Members award.
Danielle Zaccagnino is from Queens, New York. She is in her third year of the MFA program in poetry at Texas State University. Her work has recently appeared in Puerto del Sol, The Butter, and Front Porch Journal.
Sean Gill is a writer and filmmaker who has studied with Werner Herzog and Juan Luis Buñuel, documented public defenders for National Geographic, and was a writer-in-residence at the Bowery Poetry Club from 2011-2012. His latest stories have been published or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Word Riot, failbetter, REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters, and Akashic Books.