Ellen Bass Selects Jude Nutter as Winner of 2020 Adrienne Rich Award


The editors of the Beloit Poetry Journal are delighted to announce that final judge Ellen Bass has chosen Jude Nutter’s “Visible Woman, Visible Man” as the winner of the 2020 Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry.

Jude Nutter was born in North Yorkshire, England, and grew up in northern Germany. Her first collection, Pictures of the Afterlife (Salmon Poetry, Ireland) was published in 2002. The Curator of Silence (University of Notre Dame Press), her second collection, won the Ernest Sandeen Prize and was awarded the 2007 Minnesota Book Award in poetry. A third collection, I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman (University of Notre Dame Press), was voted Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Review. In 2004-2005, she spent two months in Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program. Her forth collection, Dead Reckoning, will be published by Salmon Poetry, Ireland, in 2020. She divides her time between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Dingle, Ireland.

Of Nutter’s poem, Ellen Bass writes, “‘Visible Woman, Visible Man’ is a capacious, complex poem. Building on striking diction, fresh metaphors, and precise narration, the poet considers the human body and the whole of the physical world, reaching back and forward in time—an ambitious journey which she carries off with aplomb. Intellectually satisfying and emotionally moving, this is a poem which deepens with each successive reading.”

Along with naming the winner, Bass selected two finalists. Of Jubi Arriola-Headley’s “Superhero Origin Story [S.O.S.],” Bass writes, “It's not easy to write about a spiritual experience in a way that brings the reader along, but I'm carried, as this speaker is, right up into the joy!” Of Chelsea Whitton’s “A Few More Lines for the Torturer’s Horse,” Bass writes, “Evil and innocence are big concepts, but they are handled here with understated skill and grace.”

The editors also selected as semifinalists Amy Beeder’s “Big Fish Eat Little Fish,” Cortney Lamar Charleston’s “It’s Important I Remember that Politics Is a Contact Sport—,” Corey Oglesby’s “Ballistics,” Alicia Wright’s “From Grass to Grass,” and Linda Zisquit’s “War Sonata.” The winning poem, as well as the finalists and semifinalists, will appear in the Fall 2020 issue of the BPJ.

We’re grateful to the Adrienne Rich Literary Trust and to all who submitted poems for this year’s contest.


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