Elbe’s “Map” is a Winner

Congratulations to Wisconsin poet and former CWW board member Susan Elbe on her book The Map of What Happened winning the Jacar Press 2014 Julie Suk Prize for the best poetry book published by an independent press in 2013.

Here’s what judge and prize namesake Julie Suk said about her selection of Susan’s book as winner of the top prize:

“The elasticity and freshness of her language in this sensual, resonant love letter to her city, Chicago.

“‘I came into a house of things that needed fixing,’ she writes, ‘. . . . . I came into a house of things that couldn’t be fixed. A whiskey-warm kitchen corner,/cancer growing in the alcove bedroom,/ the fridge’s lonely hum./The ungraceful way we understood.’

“THE MAP OF WHAT HAPPENED is one we all traverse. Would that we could with such resilience and wisdom.

‘. . .all night by seed-light/you search in dream, knowing nothing/tells you how far from here to there,/from one love to the next: Drifter,/your heavy pollen-dusted wings/the sweet cello of your body–too freighted to go deep enough.’

“In her fraught landscape there is a hidden room where she accepts ‘the heart is neither fragile/nor indifferent, but street fighter to its core,’ like boys in the neighborhood, ‘street-smart and tender all at once. They were not for me./Still, when they cupped their hands around a match against the wind, bending to its tribal fire,/ those soft fans of eyelashes against their cheeks,/ Lord,/Lord I believed they were.’

“Revitalizing the past, she reminds us, ‘. . . the hinged heart,/trap door to every treasure,/only opens with the word.’

Congratulations, Susan!

More about the Julie Suk prize, the Jacar Press and the contest runners up is at http://www.jacarpress.com/submit/

More about CWW is at http://www.wiswriters.org. Check us out!

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