Catamaran Poetry Prize 2019

The winner of the 2019 Catamaran Poetry Prize is Just Living by Susan Browne

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Susan Browne

Susan Browne’s poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, The Sun, Subtropics, The Southern Review, Superstition Review, Rattle, SWWIM, New Ohio Review, B O D Y, American Life in Poetry, Love’s Executive Order, and 180 More, Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. Her first book of poetry, Buddha’s Dogs (Four Way Books), was awarded the Intro Prize. Her second book of poetry, Zephyr (Steel Toe Books), won the Editor’s Prize. Other awards include prizes from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, the National Writer’s Union, the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and the River Styx International Poetry Contest. She received a fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and her work has been nominated for three Pushcart Awards. She also has a word/music CD: Swearing, Smoking, Drinking,& Kissing (with Kim Addonizio). Susan teaches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California.

Statement on this year’s Catamaran Poetry Prize

The manuscripts submitted for the 2019 Catamaran Poetry Prize were exceptionally strong. It was difficult to narrow the pool to five finalists, and challenging to pick just one winner from the top entries, since all of the finalists are publishable manuscripts. In recognition of the strength of this year’s entries, we are naming not only a winner and four finalists, but three semifinalists as well, since those deserving entries would not otherwise be acknowledged. The vitality and variety of the entries is testimony to the dynamic poetry community on the West Coast of the United States. Many thanks to all the poets who entered this year’s contest.

The entry anonymously chosen for the Catamaran Poetry Prize, Susan Browne’s Just Living, is an extraordinary collection of poems. I didn’t want this book to end. I wanted to keep reading these amazing poems that fuse outrageous humor with a stiletto-sharp pathos. Susan Browne’s poems send a message of great hope that people can keep going despite every adversity, personal, political, and planetary. —Zack Rogow

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Finalists for the 2019 Catamaran Poetry Prize:

Accidental Architecture by Persis Karim

Borrowed Light by Ken Haas

Ghost Dogs by Dion O’Reilly

The Wind Apples by Jeff Ewing


 Due South by Dawn O’Leary

Human Document by Iris Dunkle

Upright by Kevin Simmons

The 2020 Catamaran Poetry Prize will be open for submissions Nov 15, 2019 - April 20, 2020

The Catamaran Poetry Prize encourages the submission of previously unpublished poetry manuscripts across a range of styles, themes, and forms. This contest is for a collection of poetry only. Manuscripts of fiction, creative nonfiction, or screenplays are ineligible. The prize is only open to West Coast poets living in California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. All submissions should be written in English. 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in book form will be awarded to the poetry collection selected by the judge.

The judge is poet, playwright, and translator Zack Rogow.

About Zack Rogow: 

The judge for our 2020 Catamaran poetry prize is Zack Rogow, a Catamaran contributing editor for 8 years since our inaugural issue in 2012. Zack Rogow is a poet, playwright, editor, and translator. Zack has published eight collections of poetry, and is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His most recent book of poems, Irreverent Litanies, was published in 2019 by Regal House. Rogow’s other books of poetry include Talking with the Radio: poems inspired by jazz and popular music from Kattywompus Press, Talking with the Radio (2015), and My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers (2012). His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines from the American Poetry Review to ZYZZYVA.  He is the editor of an anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face of Poetry, which was the culmination of his nine years presenting national poets at the Lunch Poems Reading Series at UC Berkeley.  He has an MA in English from City University of New York, and a BA in English from Yale University.