Jennifer Moxley to judge 2018 Sawtooth

JenniferMoxleyPoet Jennifer Moxley, author most recently of The Open Secret, will judge the 2018 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, which offers a $1,500 award and publication to an original manuscript of poetry. (Details about the prize are here.)

Jennifer Moxley was raised in San Diego, California. She studied literature and writing at UC San Diego and the University of Rhode Island and received her M.F.A. from Brown University in 1994. She is the author of six books of poetry, a book of essays, and a memoir. In addition, she has translated three books from the French. Her poems have been included in two Norton Anthologies, Postmodern American Poetry and American Hybrid. Her book The Sense Record (2002) was picked as one of the five best poetry books of the year by both Stride magazine (UK) and Small Press Traffic (US). Her poem “Behind the Orbits” was included by Robert Creeley in The Best American Poetry 2002. In 2005 she was granted the Lynda Hull Poetry Award from Denver Quarterly, and in 2015 her book The Open Secret was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams award and was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She is Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of Maine.

Jonah Mixon-Webster Is 2017 Sawtooth Winner

Author photo of Jonah Mixon-WebsterTyrone Williams, judge for this year’s Ahsahta Press Sawtooth Poetry Prize, has selected Jonah Mixon-Webster of Flint, Michigan, as winner of the $1,500 prize. His manuscript of poems, to be released in February 2018, is titled “Stereo(TYPE).”


Mixon-Webster is a poet, sound artist, and educator from Flint, MI. He is a Ph.D. candidate in English Studies at Illinois State University, and has been awarded fellowships at Vermont Studio Center and Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. His poetry and hybrid works are featured or forthcoming in Barzakh Journal, small po[r]tions, Shade Journal, Propter Nos, Spoon River Poetry Review, Blueshift Journal, Assaracus, Callaloo, LA Review of Books’ Voluble, and the anthologies Zombie Variations Symposium and Best American Experimental Writing 2018.


Ahsahta Press will also publish C. Violet Eaton’s manuscript “Quartet” in 2018.


A list of twenty other finalists for the prize and twenty-two semi-finalists follows this announcement.


2017 Finalists:

Aaron Angello, Rooms in an Abandoned Hotel
Marty Cain, The Wound Is (Not) Real: A Memoir
Paola Capó-García, Clap for Me That’s Not Me
Sophia Dahlin, Natch
C. Violet Eaton, Quartet
Kristina Erny, The Wax of What’s Left
Christopher Kondrich, Valuing
Krystal Languell, Quite Apart
Jonah Mixon-Webster, Stereo(TYPE)
Kelly Nelson, The Possibility of My Absence
Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of
Gillian Osborne, Seasonal Disorders
Nina Puro, Each Tree Could Hold a House or a Noose
Stephen Ratcliffe, w i n d o w / 6.27-10.4
Henk Rossouw, Xamissa
John Rufo, Delete
Robert Yerachmiel Snyderman, Deform
William Stobb, You Are Still Alive
Heather Sweeney, Dear Marshall, Language Is Our Only Wilderness
Bronwen Tate, Probable Garden
Shelly Taylor, B-Side Girls Knocking Sugar in the Gourd

2017 Semi-Finalists:

Ed Adams, Unaccomplished
Monique Adelle, Anonymous
Emily Brandt, ManWorld
Ansley Clark, Bloodline
S. Brook Corfman, Luxury, Blue Lace
Meg Cowen, Chiaroscuro
Ann DeVibiss, A New Country, Wild and Unsettled
K. M. English, Wave Says
Clara Changxin Fang, Night Crossing over the Pacific
Leah Huizar, Inland Empire
Michael Lavers, After Earth
Danika LeMay, God Is in the Mall
Michelle Lewis, Animul/Flame
Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, The Life Assignment
Kwoya Fagin Maples, Mend
A. Molotkov, Miniature Words
Daniel Owen, Restaurant Samsara
Andrew Rojas, The Prodigal’s Next Life
Jennifer Stella, anastomose
Dennis James Sweeney, In the Antarctic Circle
Valerie Witte, A Rupture in the Interiors


Editorial Board for 2016-2017:

Patty Bowen, intern
Lindsey Appell
Michael Green
Janet Holmes
Kathryn Jensen
Colin Johnson
Matt Naples

Jennifer Nelson’s Sawtooth-winning book released!

j nelson - portrait - ana maría leónCivilization Makes Me Lonely, winner of the 2016 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, has been published by Ahsahta Press and is available now.

Anne Boyer, judge of the 2016 prize, wrote of Jennifer Nelson’s book, “This book is wicked. Who knew that poetry could frack the totality?”

Nelson, who teaches in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Art Institute of Chicago, is the author previously of Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife. Of Civilization Makes Me Lonely, she writes, “The intense normalization pressures on me from an early age—as a person of color in the U.S., as the child of an immigrant and a class-shifter, and as my weird self, beyond these demographics—have often had disastrous consequences. I see analogues of the same pressures everywhere. Is there any point in being a warrior against those pressures? One of my reactions is to show some of the many ways normalization works to isolate people (and makes them lonely) rather than bringing them together.”

The book, the fifteenth Sawtooth Poetry Prize winner, is available from Small Press Distribution ( and Ahsahta Press.

(Author photo by Ana-María León.)

Hua Shi Hua by Jen Hyde Released

Jen HydeFirst-book author Jen Hyde’s Hua Shi Hua results from her search for culture, and especially language, linking her to her half-Chinese heritage. “In Mandarin I am called a huaren, an ethnically Chinese person who was not born in China; in English I am a person of the Chinese diaspora by way of my mother, who moved to the United States from Indonesia,” Hyde explains in an author statement for the book. Along the way, the multiple pronunciations of the character “hua,” which sound identical to English speakers—meaning “speaking,” “China,” “transform,” and “flowers”—become ways for the poet to explore and claim her identity.

Vincent Toro wins the Norma Farber First Book Award

Vincent Toro’s Stereo.Island.Mosaic, winner of the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, has now won the prestigious VincentNorma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Congratulations to Vincent! We always knew you were a winner.

Jos Charles’s Safe Space Named a Lambda Finalist

JosSafe Space, the first book by Jos Charles, published by Ahsahta in 2016, has been named a finalist for Lambda Literary’s Transgender Poetry category for that year. Congratulations to Jos, who was previously chosen to receive a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation!

2017 Sawtooth Poetry Prize Opens

The 2017 Sawtooth Poetry Prize for Ahsahta Press opens January 1, 2017, and continues through March 1 at midnight. Poet Tyrone Williams is the final judge.

Williams was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned his BA, MA, and PhD at Wayne State University. He is the author of a number of chapbooks, including Convalescence (1987); Futures, Elections (2004); Musique Noir (2006); and Pink Tie (2011), among others. His full-length collections of poetry include c.c. (2002), On Spec (2008), The Hero Project (2009), Adventures of Pi (2011), and Howell (2011).

See guidelines for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize for how to enter.

Grace Shuyi Liew wins 2015 Chapbook Contest

Kerri Webster, judge for this year’s Ahsahta Press Chapbook Contest, has selected Grace Shuyi Liew of Flagstaff, AZ, as winner of the $1,000 prize. Her manuscript of poems, to be released in spring 2016, is titled “Prop.”

Sophia Dahlin, Toy Weather
Christy Davids, Alphabet, Ontology
Elizabeth Dodd, In the Cabinet of Wonders
C. Violet Eaton, Archeophany
Susanne Eules, h:app:yland = a hare’s carnet
Grace Shuyi Liew, Prop
Alessandra Lynch, Wolf & Root
Ann Marshall, Winter Primer
Christopher Nelson and Sean Rys, Red Motel
Kelly Nelson, Poison in the Bones
Kate Partridge, Intended American Dictionary
Deborah Reich, Camelsutra: The Road to Winsome

Editorial Board for 2015-2016:

Ashley Barr
Denise Bickford
Patty Bowen, intern
Katie Fuller
Janet Holmes, director
Zeke Hudson
Colin Johnson
Indrani Sengupta

Congratulations to Vincent Toro, Lauren Russell, and Sasha Steensen!

vincent-smEd Roberson, judge for this year’s Ahsahta Press Sawtooth Poetry Prize, has selected Vincent Toro of Bronx, New York, as winner of the $1,500 prize. His manuscript of poems, to be released in January 2016, is titled Stereo.Island.Mosaic.

Vincent Toro is a poet and playwright from New York where he teaches for The City University of New York’s Bronx Community College and The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization that places working artists in the schools and local communities. He has an MFA from Rutgers University, received a 2014 Poet’s House Emerging Poet’s Fellowship, and was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry for 2014. His poems have been published in Rattapallax, The Paterson Literary Review, Vallum, Bordersenses, Kweli Literary Journal, The Buenos Aires Review, Really System, Five Quarterly, Codex, Duende Literary Journal, and in the anthologies CHORUS, edited by Saul Williams, and The Waiting Room Reader 2, edited by Rachel Hadas.

The judge also named two runners-up, whose books Ahsahta will also publish. They are Lauren Russell of Madison, WI, whose book What’s Hanging on the Hush will be published in March 2017, and Sasha Steensen of Fort Collins, CO, whose book Gatherest will come out the following September.

The names of the finalists, semi-finalists, and the editorial board members are listed below.



Rosebud Ben-Oni, Bloodsport

Chuck Carlise, In One Version of the Story

Ashley Chambers, The Exquisite Buoyancies

Jos Charles, butt hole

Nadia Colburn, Silence in the Sentence

Claudia Cortese, Twine

Jen Hyde, Hua Shi Hua (画诗华) Drawings and Poems from China

Jacqueline Kari, TWA: A Masque

Krystal Languell, Tonight This Is Our Last Song

Opal McCarthy, Surge

Allyson Paty, In the Next Room Always

Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency

Lauren Russell, What’s Hanging on the Hush

Andrew Ruzkowski, Do You Know This Type of Tree

Bret Shepard, Living as Magnets

Holly Simonsen, Janus, Headless

Jack Snyder, here I am I

Claire Marie Stancek, Mouths

Sasha Steensen, gatherest

Vincent Toro, Stereo.Island.Mosaic.



Desirée Alvarez, Devil’s Paintbrush

Mark Baumer, The Uzi

Marty Cain, Kids of the Black Hole

Allison Cobb, After We All Died

Kay Cosgrove, A Codfish Recipe for Every Day of the Year

Jamison Crabtree, WOLF!!! vol. 1

John Cross, What Bleak Angels Carried Your Bed

Adam O. Davis, Index of Haunted Houses

Melissa Dickey, What Were Woods

Landon Godfrey, Inventory

Nathan Hauke, Indian Summer Recycling

MC Hyland, An Aperture

Jenny Irish, Common Ancestor

Matthew Mahaney, Actual Echo

Deborah Schwartz, A Girl Could Disappear Like This

Dara-Lyn Shrager, Whiskey, X-Ray, Yankee

Jay Thompson, Full Gone

Gale Marie Thompson, Helen or My Hunger

Daneen Wardrop, Stir the Lake

Amy Wright, Upping the Panoply


Editorial Board for 2015-2016:

Ashley Barr

Denise Bickford

Patty Bowen, intern

Katie Fuller

Janet Holmes, director

Zeke Hudson

Colin Johnson

Indrani Sengupta

Ed Roberson to judge the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

Ed RobersonPoet Ed Roberson has been named the final judge for the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize for Ahsahta Press.

Roberson is the author of numerous books of poetry, including To See the Earth Before the End of the World (2010), City Eclogue (2006), Atmosphere Conditions (1999), which was chosen by Nathaniel Mackey for the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Award, andVoices Cast Out to Talk Us In (1995), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Words and phrases in Roberson’s experimental poetry actively resist parsing, using instead what Mackey has called “double-jointed syntax” to explore and bend themes of race, history, and culture. “I’m not creating a new language. I’m just trying to un-White-Out the one we’ve got,” said Roberson in a 2006 interview with Chicago Postmodern Poetry.

Poet and critic Michael Palmer has called Roberson “one of the most deeply innovative and critically acute voices of our time.”

Roberson’s honors include the Lila Wallace Writers’ Award and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Award. His work has been included in Best American Poetry.

The Sawtooth Poetry Prize competition opens January 1, 2015 and closes for submissions on March 1, 2015.

[Bio information from The Poetry Foundation.]

Kevin Holden wins the 2014 Chapbook Contest

Susan Briante, judge for this year’s Ahsahta Press Chapbook Contest, has chosen Kevin Holden of New Haven, Connecticut, to win the $1,000 prize. His manuscript of poems, to be released in spring 2015, is titled Birch. Kevin Holden is the author of two chapbooks, Identity (Cannibal Books) and Alpine (White Queen Press). His first full-length book of poetry, Solar, won the 2014 Fence Modern Poets Prize and will be published next year. His poems have appeared in such places as Conjunctions, Jubilat, 1913, Aufgabe, Typo, and Colorado Review, and have been included in the anthology The Arcadia Project (Ahsahta Press) and in Best American Experimental Writing (Omnidawn). He also translates and writes about poetry and is a PhD candidate in comparative literature at Yale. He is originally from Rhode Island. Read more about the award and the finalists here. The next Chapbook Contest will run in April 2015.

Aaron Apps wins the 2014 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

Ahsahta Press is pleased to announce the winner of the thirteenth annual Sawtooth Poetry Prize competition: Aaron Apps of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, whose manuscript Dear Herculine was selected by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. He will receive the $1,500 prize in addition to the publication of his book by Ahsahta Press in January 2015. Gabriel Gudding of Bloomington, Illinois, has been named runner-up for his manuscript Rivers for Animals, which will be published in September 2015. Read more about the 2014 contest here.

Open Selection and Sawtooth Runner-Up

]EXCLOSURES[ by Emily Abendroth and After-Cave by Michelle Detorie have been selected for publication by Ahsahta Press through the Open Submission period and the 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize competition. ]EXCLOSURES[ will be published in May 2014, and After-Cave in September 2014.

Emily Abendroth is a writer and teacher currently residing in Philadelphia. Her print publications include: NOTWITHSTANDING shoring, FLUMMOX (Little Red Leaves), Exclosures 1-8 (Albion Press), Property : None (Taproot Editions), and Toward Eadward Forward (horse less press). An extended excerpt from her piece “Muzzle Blast Dander” can be found in Refuge/Refugee (Chain Links, Vol 3). She is a recipient of the 2013 Pew Fellowship in Poetry.

Michelle Detorie lives in Santa Barbara, CA, where she edits Hex Presse and works at Santa Barbara City College. Recent works include the chapbooks Fur Birds (Insert Press, 2012), Ode to Industry (Dusie/Playful Rectangle, 2009), How Hate Got Hand (eohippus labs, 2009), Bellum Letters (Dusie 2008), and A Coincidence of Wants (Dos Press, 2007). In 2007, Michelle was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, and in 2010 she won a direct-to-artist grant from the Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative for her public art project, The Poetry Booth.

[Article has been edited to reflect the retitling of Michelle Detorie’s manuscript (from Fur Birds) and its adjusted publication date.]




Marco Giovenale wins Ahsahta Chapbook Contest

K Silem Mohammad, judge for the 2013 Ahsahta Chapbook Contest, has selected Anachromisms by Marco Giovenale of Rome, Italy, as winner of the $1,000 prize and publication. His chapbook will be released in spring 2014. Pattie McCarthy’s manuscript x y z & & will be published as well, in fall 2014.

Marco Giovenale lives and works in Rome. He is editor of,, Or. He is an author of books and ebooks of linear poetry, asemic stuff, photography, and experimental prose. In English, his works include A gunless tea (Dusi/e-chap, 2007) and CDK (Tir aux pigeons, 2009: He has published four e-artbooks (as differx) at Among his asemic works are Sibille asemantiche (La camera verde, 2008), This Is Visual Poetry / by Marco Giovenale (ed. by Dan Waber, 2011), and Asemic Sibyls (Red Fox Press, 2013.) His blog is

Ahsahta Press, named for the Mandan word for “Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep,” was founded in 1974 and publishes seven to ten books of poetry per year, including the winners of its annual Chapbook Contest and Sawtooth Poetry Prize. It is based at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, and is directed by Janet Holmes, a professor in the MFA Program for Creative Writing at Boise State.

David Bartone wins the Sawtooth Prize!

David Bartone’s manuscript “Practice on Mountains” is the 2013 Sawtooth Poetry Prize winner, selected by Dan Beachy-Quick. “It’s wonderfully self-searching without being narcissistic,” wrote Beachy-Quick in the award statement, “tied into love’s agonies in ways familiar but strikingly honest, deprecating but audacious, learned but humble. It brings to its readers a primary document of the mind reading through the heart’s various damage.” Bartone is the author of Spring Logic, a chapbook with H_NGM_N (2011). His poems have appeared at The Laurel Review, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Thermos, Verse Online, Mountain Gazette, and others. The next Sawtooth Poetry Prize contest will be held between January 1 and March 1, 2014, and will be judged by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge.

Galatea Resurrects Reviews 7 Books—and Ahsahta!

When someone around the office reads the words “Ahsahta Press should be showered with money,” we think we might have taken a wrong turn in the middle of grantwriting. But these weren’t our words—they were poet and critic Djelloul Marbrook’s in his article at Galatea Resurrects. “Ahsahta’s books represent the research and development in poetics that will shape our perceptions of poetry in the 21st Century when the next century turns,” Marbrook writes. “Ahsahta is doing just what America isn’t doing enough, research and development.” Take a look at the entire article in Galatea’s Issue 20 and read the essay-reviews of Susan Tichy’s Gallowglass, Dan Beachy-Quick’s Work from Memory, Kate Greenstreet’s The Last 4 Things, Stephanie Strickland’s Zone : Zero, Brian Teare’s Pleasure, Andrew Grace’s Sancta, and Elizabeth Robinson’s Counterpart. It’s so rare to get a review that really gets a book, but I’ve never seen one that got seven at once! Marbrook even pays attention to page width and typesetting in his essay, to the difficulties of marketing avant-garde texts, and to the role poetry can play in society.

Of course I’m delighted by the attention and by his evaluation of how Ahsahta is succeeding. Given our expenses, it’s going to be necessary to write more of those grant applications, funding calls, and such, but having these words of encouragement at hand makes the whole process more do-able.

An open submission period, at last!

For years, the backlog of accepted poetry manuscripts at Ahsahta has prevented us from having an open reading period—we can only afford to produce so many books per year, and have often wanted to do more than one book by our authors. That’s been crowding out authors new to Ahsahta, and we wanted that situation to end. I kept telling people that I’d have a month-long submission period in 2013 and now that day has come. I’m terrified about what I’m in for. With up to 700 manuscripts for the Sawtooth, which has the disincentive (for some) of an entry fee, will I now have thousands of manuscripts to look at? Or will submissions go down without a judge like Dan Beachy-Quick or Rae Armantrout, or without the $1,500 prize? Stay tuned.

If you want to send something, here’s the link:

I wish I could say what I’m looking for, but that’s pretty well covered by our motto, “Surprise.” If you don’t know our books, take a look at the sample poems on the website, though frankly the sample poems won’t give you a sense for those books like Julie Carr’s 100 Notes on Violence, which builds as it goes along, or Dan Beachy-Quick and Matthew Goulish’s Work from Memory, which pairs a page of poetry with a page of essay and goes “landscape” when it talks about a landscape. Still, in a world in which poetry-selling bookstores are thin on the ground, our sample poems will at least give you an idea of what we do. Send me something to read.