Announcing the Winners & Finalists for the 2017 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

The Luminaire Award for Best Poetry is Alternating Current Press’ annual writing award to recognize the best poetry and hybrid work submitted to the press. All poetry submitted to Alternating Current is considered for the award, and there is no additional submission process. The winner is announced each spring from our poetry semifinalists, selected by an external judge with knowledge in the craft, to receive publication, publicity, a monetary award, and other incentives from our press.

Out of 369 individual poems and over 500 poetry manuscripts that we read this year, Alternating Current acquisitions staff selected 25 poems in a blind reading to send to our phenomenal judge, poet Emily O’Neill, to select the winners in a second blind reading. We are so proud of these selections, and we look forward to publishing them on The Coil throughout 2017. Stay tuned to the journal to read them throughout the year!

Find out more:

Congratulations to the 2017 Winners:

First Place:
“I Thought Pigeons Were Vegetarians” by Barrett Warner

Judge’s Comments: “The imagery in ‘I Thought Pigeons Were Vegetarians’ is what floated it to the top of my list of finalists and kept it there, but my favorite moment was ‘Monogamy isn’t merciful.’ Poems that wander far from where the title leads me to believe I’ll end up are what I look for when reading, and that statement couldn’t have been further from what I expected to live in this poem. The line stands at the center as an odd declaration to imagine as the nucleus of the scene, and it’s the kind of statement that has the gravity to hold the rest of the poem in place. A thumbtack to hang the images on. A place to land and return to besides the breaks in stanza or line that we expect to hold us to the words at play.”

Second Place:
“What form this time” by Torrie Valentine

Third Place:
“things / i know to be true, / but will never prove” by Omotara James

Fourth Place:
“Insomnia” by Barrett Warner

Fifth Place:
“My Father at the Funeral” by Helen Park


The 2017 Finalists:

“Bird Woman of Wonder Valley” by Cynthia Anderson
“Sacks of Cells” by Brendan Walsh
“Where There Is a Life, There Is a Hope” by Brendan Walsh
“Logged” by Barrett Warner
“Grocery Shopping” by Rebecca Gould
“Misreading Belfast as Breakfast in a Poem” by C. C. Russell
“Ten Cents” by Gary Beaumier


The 2017 Semifinalists:

“The Rio Grande” by Gary Beaumier
“When We Were New” by Gary Beaumier
“Olive Hill” by Sue Blaustein
“The Party after You Left” by Merridawn Duckler
“Aturdido” by Robert Américo Esnard
“Moon House” by Howie Good
“Blood Stripes, the Ambush, and Other Nightmares” by Aaron Graham
“News from Home” by Couri Johnson
“Annie” by Jacquelyn Kozak
“Commute” by C. C. Russell
“A Good Beer” by Brendan Walsh
“Movie Scene” by Brendan Walsh
“Wow” by Barrett Warner


Our 2017 Judge:

Emily O’Neill is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her debut collection, Pelican, is the inaugural winner of YesYes Books’ Pamet River Prize for women and nonbinary writers and the winner of the 2016 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Series in poetry. She is the author of three chapbooks: Celeris (Fog Machine), You Can’t Pick Your Genre (Jellyfish Highway), and Make a Fist & Tongue the Knuckles (Nostrovia! Press). She teaches writing and tends bar in Boston, Massachusetts.


Entries are now open for the 2018 contest. Enter here.