The Chad Walsh Chapbook Series

Glossary of Unsaid Terms
by 
Victoria C. Flanagan
Victoria C. Flanagan
Photo of author Victoria C. Flanagan.

The BPJ team is thrilled to announce that the 2020 title in the Chad Walsh Chapbook Series is Victoria C. Flanagan’s Glossary of Unsaid Terms. Flanagan earned a dual-genre MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Virginia Commonwealth University. Their writing has been awarded the Catherine and Joan Byrne Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Emerging Poets Prize from Palette Poetry, and a Sewanee Writers’ Conference scholarship, among other honors. Their work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, The Boiler, Crab Creek Review, New South, and elsewhere, and they are the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing’s 2020-21 Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellow.

The collection, chosen by the editors, grapples beautifully with the challenges of inheritance—physical, cultural, and psychic. Editor Melissa Crowe writes, “Flanagan's book is a coming-of-age narrative—but not the kind we've seen before. Its speaker, in their twenties and in treatment for cancer, reveals in poem after poem how hard it is to grow into one's full personhood while also engaged in an effort to survive. What's remarkable is that Flanagan never lets us believe the project of becoming is less urgent than the speaker's effort to stay alive; it's precisely this intermingling of urgencies that gives the collection its electricity and its import."

When you subscribe to the BPJ, you’ll receive as part of your subscription a copy of the forthcoming chapbook in the series. Not a subscriber? Purchase a copy of Glossary of Unsaid Terms here.

from 
Glossary of Unsaid Terms

Vox Populi, Vox Dei

My father taught me well: you can split whole cords

with a chipped maul & still forsake

the shed. Proof: corner store ruptured

by weeds chin-high, even the high school

has closed. Out here, where tire plants landmark,

mill men drift and jaw:

If you cut both a man’s hands from his body,

even his family will think him dead.

      Father, debtor, crankhead, snitch.

            No one revenge

will do—harm has a hectare

of timberwoods & a zip code

where people say belief

is what gets them through.

To be girl in a place where bruise

is prelude. We all learn quick

as a clip point blade—cool and nicking

threat against the inner thigh.

            My father taught me well:

Can’t chase away a name. This is the earth

I shall inherit: Steam idles over

the recycling plant, slack bales queue up

in these, our dry fields, & his bones

won’t thaw before March.

Out here, you ask a man for mercy

he’ll spit and call you senseless.

You tell this land Forget me

but it gives you sons instead.

My father taught me well: you can split whole cords

with a chipped maul & still forsake

the shed. Proof: corner store ruptured

by weeds chin-high, even the high school

has closed. Out here, where tire plants landmark,

mill men drift and jaw:

If you cut both a man’s hands from his body,

even his family will think him dead.

      Father, debtor, crankhead, snitch.

            No one revenge

will do—harm has a hectare

of timberwoods & a zip code

where people say belief

is what gets them through.

To be girl in a place where bruise

is prelude. We all learn quick

as a clip point blade—cool and nicking

threat against the inner thigh.

            My father taught me well:

Can’t chase away a name. This is the earth

I shall inherit: Steam idles over

the recycling plant, slack bales queue up

in these, our dry fields, & his bones

won’t thaw before March.

Out here, you ask a man for mercy

he’ll spit and call you senseless.

You tell this land Forget me

but it gives you sons instead.

Chad Walsh (1914-1991), co-founder of the Beloit Poetry Journal.
Chad Walsh
1914 - 1991

The Chad Walsh Chapbook Series was established in 2018 with the support of Alison Walsh Sackett and her husband Paul in honor of Ms. Sackett's father, the poet Chad Walsh, a co-founder in 1950 of the Beloit Poetry Journal.

(From 1993-2017, the magazine awarded The Chad Walsh Prize to a single poem published during the previous year.) 

The series is open to any poet writing in English, regardless of publication history, and the poet whose manuscript we select receives $2,500 and 50 author copies of their chapbook, which is distributed to BPJ subscribers and sold separately in a print run of approximately 1,500. See submission guidelines for more information.

Other Titles in the Series