Judge Daniel Barnum awarded Lee Ann Roripaugh an Honorable Mention for her chapbook #stringofbeads and Huan He a Finalist honor for his chapbook Sandman in consideration for the 2023 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize. The contest is held by the New England Poetry Club to celebrate chapbooks of poems published in the last two years.
#stringofbeads is an homage to Heian-period Japanese poet Princess Shikishi’s elegant series of linked tanka journaling her days, experiences, and psychological weather—with a lens particularly oriented toward questions of place, ecopoetics, and climate change. #stringofbeads honors both the impulse and practice of Princess Shikishi’s poetics, but in a way that explores contemporary contexts, images, themes, intellectual discourses, and technology. Highways, airports, Pokemon, comics, and social media are all a part of this poet’s daily life and interactions, and are deliberately included within the frame. Determined by the aleatoric minutiae of chance encounters and observations, these tanka are meant to unfold in simple, attentive, daily gradations—like a strand of beads or pearls.
Sandman peers into the slumbering worlds of desire and memory. The collection takes the Sandhills of Nebraska as a storied place for exploring queerness and Asian American experience, dispersed across environments “to see if the earth remembered too, / this time, or the next.” Giving form to “shapes out of air,” the lines reside in the multiple valences of a breath, finding resonances across migrant histories of labor and pleasure.
Lee Ann Roripaugh’s fifth volume of poetry, tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 (Milkweed Editions, 2019), was named a “Best Book of 2019” by the New York Public Library, selected as a poetry Finalist in the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards, cited as a Society of Midland Authors 2020 Honoree in Poetry, and was named one of the “50 Must-Read Poetry Collections in 2019” by Book Riot. She is the author of four other volumes of poetry: Dandarians (Milkweed, Editions, 2014), On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year (Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), Year of the Snake (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004), and Beyond Heart Mountain (Penguin, 1999). She was named winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Poetry/Prose for 2004, and a 1998 winner of the National Poetry Series. The South Dakota State Poet Laureate from 2015-2019, Roripaugh is a Professor of English at the University of South Dakota, where she serves as Director of Creative Writing and Editor-in Chief of South Dakota Review. Roripaugh served as one of the jurors for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, and was appointed as the Mary Rogers Field and Marion Field-McKenna Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at DePauw University for spring 2022.
Based in Los Angeles, Huan He is the author of Sandman (2022), which won the 2021 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest. His poetry explores race, sexuality, and belonging from the perspective of a queer Chinese American raised by the prairies. His poems appear/are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal (2021 Adrienne Rich Award Semifinalist), A Public Space, Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review (Poetry Contest Finalist), and elsewhere. He is an assistant professor of English at Vanderbilt University.