The results of the 2007 Keystone Chapbook Competition are in: from the sixty manuscripts entered, our final judge, Jeff Mann, has selected "Underground Singing" by Harry Humes as the winner. Mann praised the manuscript as "a lyrical yet realistic description of coal-town life" that "displays admirable lucidity and accessibility, a haunting, sharp-eyed nostalgia, and vividly evoked detail."
The first runner-up manuscript was "Still," by Deborah Burnham of Philadelphia. The judge commented that the manuscript "brims with finely phrased appreciation of the romantic and the erotic, as well as displaying remarkably fresh figurative language and sensuous imagery."
The second runner-up manuscript, by Jillian Barnet of Pittsburgh, was "You Don't Need a Nose and Other Things I've Learned." Mann assessed this manuscript as "shocking, painful, blunt" and said "these poems of hospital tragedies, disease, and death remind us of how much can go wrong, how much there is to lose, and thus how much there is to celebrate while circumstances allow."
We are delighted to publish Harry Humes' collection this fall. Copies will be distributed to all contest entrants, and will be available for sale in January 2008. If you would like to review this chapbook, please e-mail me.
Thanks to all who entered this year--the judge remarked on the difficulty of selecting among many truly excellent manuscripts--and thanks, also, to everyone who helped to spread the word.
About the judge: Jeff Mann grew up in Covington, Virginia, and Hinton, West Virginia, receiving degrees in English and forestry from West Virginia University. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in many publications, including The Spoon River Poetry Review, Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Laurel Review, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, Crab Orchard Review, West Branch, Bloom, and Appalachian Heritage. He has published three award-winning poetry chapbooks, Bliss, Mountain Fireflies, and Flint Shards from Sussex; and two full-length books of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine and On the Tongue. He teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
[photo: cornfield, 10/09/04]