Alison Pelegrin, author of Our Lady of the Flood, is the winner of the Eric Hoffer Award in the chapbook category! Congratulations, Alison!
The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.
In addition to the grand prize, the Eric Hoffer Award identifies a winner, a runner-up, and honorable mentions within eighteen all-inclusive categories. Additional honors go to academic, small, micro, and self-published presses. The category finalists and the grand prize short list are further noted.
With poems that are in turn meditative, humorous, and blunt, Our Lady of the Flood lingers in the sweet spot between ruin and rebirth. Featuring fairy tale Madonnas, feast days, laments, and botched tattoos, to read these poems is to be infected with the sort of reckless wonder Pelegrin so often sings about.
More praise for Our Lady of the Flood:
This collection vibrates with candor and concern—forging a kinetic blaze into an emotional and physical terrain newly devastated by hurricane. But oh, what gorgeous life and sass teems in these poems! Whether she writes of the exquisite delight of eating “a foam of jeweled fruits” or the horrors of ”...unzipped bodies, emptied and stacked by size,” Pelegrin's writing is simply incandescent. —Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Our Lady of the Flood sets before its altars all the rapturous junk and glorious miscellany of a world both rooted in tradition and constantly in flux. Alison Pelegrin dazzles us, once again, with a richness of experience that makes us hunger “for fig cookies, glossy loaves of bread, and for ambrosia, / confection snubbed by food snobs / as a poor folks food,” and introduces us to Our Lady of the Flood herself, asking, “Lady, is that you, with a citronella halo, / ghosting the mud-milk waters / with a laundry basket of kittens in one arm?” The divine and the ordinary intersect and intertwine throughout this collection, while a steady, spirited voice shows us “a tangle of bridges,” or “the ghost of wind lurching through kudzu leaves,” and “the movement of a horse minus the horse itself.” Readers, prepare to be astonished and transformed. Alison Pelegrin’s Our Lady of the Flood is the answer to our prayers. —Mary Biddinger
Alison Pelegrin is the author of four previous poetry collections, including Big Muddy River of Stars, which won the 2006 Akron Poetry Prize, Hurricane Party (U. Akron 2011), and Waterlines (LSU Press 2016). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, recent work of hers appears in The Southern Review, The Cincinnati Review, and Image. She teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University.
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