WINNER OF THE 2020 COURTNEY VALENTINE PRIZE FOR OUTSTANDING WORK BY A MILLENNIAL ARTIST
Established in 2019, the Courtney Valentine Prize for Outstanding Work by a Millennial Artist awards $50 to one contributor per issue, regardless of genre, whose work exemplifies what it means to be a millennial. Each year, a special guest judge is brought in by the Fearsome Critters Editorial Board to select a winner. The winner is then announced during the annual Critter Crawl at AWP via social media.
This year's special guest judge is Jess Rizkallah. Jess is a Lebanese-American writer and illustrator. Her full-length collection THE MAGIC MY BODY BECOMES (University of Arkansas Press 2017) was a finalist for The Believer Poetry Award and won the 2017 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize as awarded by the Radius of Arab-American Writers and University of Arkansas Press.
special guest judge, 2020
i am black like all things black
"There were so many beautiful pieces to choose from, all of them succeeding in what they set out to do, many of them in conversation with each other, which feels poetic when considering the theme of the prize. However, I was most struck by Jason Crawford’s poem. It seems to have crystallized in its succinct form the hard place a body resides when it comes alive between what is elemental and what is cosmic. and then how physiology interacts with metaphor. and then the danger of being perceived as a black person who wants the river and what the river represents, but yet. How the inescapability of perception robs from the speaker the seamlessness between body and water, the freedom to just Be without fear. The form reinforces this in how it is untitled, and how it doesn’t have punctuation or capitalization. The poem all ripples of thoughts making one continuous wave. This poem is intuitive and precise, quiet and large all at once. I’m in awe."
— Jess Rizkallah