2018 Catamaran Poetry Prize

The Catamaran Poetry Prize is an annual award for a book-length collection of poems that includes a $1,000 honorarium and publication. The contest is open to West Coast poets living in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. The 2019 Catamaran Poetry Prize submissions open Nov 15th, 2018 and close Mar 15th, 2019.


Catamaran Literary Reader is pleased to announce that Michelle Bitting’s book Broken Kingdom is the recipient of the first annual Catamaran Poetry Prize.

The contest judge Zack Rogow had this to say about Michelle Bitting’s manuscript:

"There is a sense in Michelle Bitting’s Broken Kingdom that the poet is announcing the advent of something both gorgeous and horrific. It’s very much a book for our time. Repeatedly, these poems astound me with the power of their pronouncements and with their new and voltaic use of language. Broken Kingdom restores my faith that life can be miraculous, even when—or especially when—it’s as mundane as a father and son unstopping a clogged bathroom sink."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             photo credit: Alexis Rhone Fancher   

Michelle Bitting’s latest collection is The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press, 2016), named one of the Kirkus Best Books of 2016. She has poems published in the American Poetry Review, NarrativePrairie Schooner, the New York Times, the Harvard Review, and others. Poems of hers have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily and in numerous anthologies, including Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond and Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems from Tupelo Press. Her book Good Friday Kiss, chosen by Thomas Lux, won the DeNovo First Book Award; and Notes to the Beloved won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award, earned a starred review from Kirkus, and was reissued by C & R Press in 2018. She has won awards from GlimmerTrain and the Beyond Baroque Foundation. Poems of hers have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes. Bitting also won the 2018 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize. She has taught poetry in the UCLA Extension Writers Program, at Twin Towers Correctional Facility, and for ten years has been an active California Poet in the Schools. She earned an MFA in poetry from Pacific University, Oregon, an MA in mythological studies with an emphasis in depth psychology, and in summer 2018 will complete a PhD in mythological studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She is the poet laureate of Pacific Palisades and has won grants from the Optimists Club and Poets & Writers Magazine for her teaching work in Los Angeles. www.michellebitting.com 

The Catamaran Poetry Prize, sponsored by RiskPress, was made possible by a generous donation from Charlie Pendergast’s RiskPress Foundation. RiskPress is committed to publishing new work by emerging writers. Contact pkcp@aol.com.

The prize is a program of the nonprofit Catamaran Literary Reader, whose mission is focused on the publication of a quarterly literary magazine and the intersection of other arts and educational programs related to the literary magazine. The nonprofit’s vision is to discover and preserve in an enduring format the best literary and artistic work of our times, and to educate the public through related literary and artistic educational programs. The Catamaran Poetry Prize was established to reinforce the nonprofit’s commitment to West Coast poetry.

This year’s judge, Zack Rogow, is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. www.zackrogow.com