Gell Prize 2009 Winner

Veronica Patterson is the winner of the Second Annual Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize

Patterson photoWriters & Books and Big Pencil Press are pleased to announce that the Second Annual Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize will be awarded to Veronica Patterson for her manuscript Thresh & Hold. The winning manuscript was selected by the contest’s finalist judge Lola Haskins.

The prize includes publication of the work in a trade paperback edition by Big Pencil Press, a $1000 honorarium, and a two-week residency at Writers & Books’ rural Gell Center of the Finger Lakes, a retreat and meeting center in New York’s Bristol Hills. Publication is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2009.

This will be Ms. Patterson’s third book of poems. Her first poetry collection, How to Make a Terrarium, was published by Cleveland State University (1987) followed by Swan, What Shores? (New York University Press, 2000). She lives in Loveland, CO, and is a writing instructor at the University of Northern Colorado.

Big Pencil Press is the publishing division of Writers & Books, a literary center located at 740 University Ave., Rochester NY, now in its 28th year of operation. The prize was established in 2007 and named in honor of Dr. Kenneth and Geraldine Gell who donated the rural property that has become the Gell Center.

“We’re very pleased by the selection of Veronica Patterson,” said Writers & Books executive director Joe Flaherty. “The awarding of this honor to work of such quality helps the Gell Prize to take its place among the important annual prizes awarded each year to American poets.”

“I’m guessing this book will have a very long life, and if I had a glass here at my desk, I’d be lifting it,” Haskins wrote upon making the selection. Lola Haskins is the author of numerous critically acclaimed collections of poetry, including, most recently, Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems  (BOA Editions, 2004), as well as an advice book for people interested in writing poetry: Not Feathers Yet: A Beginner’s Guide to the Poetic Life  (Backwaters Press).

Veronica Patterson is a graduate of Cornell University, the University of Michigan, the University of Northern Colorado, and Warren Wilson College (MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry). Her first poetry collection, How to Make a Terrarium, was published by Cleveland State University (1987). Her poetry collection Swan, What Shores? (New York University Press, 2000) was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ 2000 James Laughlin Award and won annual poetry awards from both the Colorado Center for the Book and Women Writing the West. Her chapbook of prose poems This Is the Strange Part was published by Pudding House Publications in Spring 2002. She has also published one collection of poetry and photography, The Bones Remember: A Dialogue, with photographer Ronda Stone (Stone Graphics Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, The Sun, The Madison Review, The Malahat Review, The Indiana Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Mid-American Review, The Willow Review, The Montserrat Review, The Bloomsbury Review, Willow Springs, The Colorado Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Many Mountains Moving, Coal City Review, Dogwood, New Letters, The Bellingham Review, Cimarron Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Runes, Pilgrimage, Prairie Schooner, and Lumina. Poems are forthcoming in Spoon River Review. Her essay “Comfort Me with Apples” appeared in the Spring 1997 Georgia Review and was selected as a Notable Essay. Her essay “Feast” was published in Pilgrimage in 2003. She has been awarded three residencies at the Ucross Foundation, one at Hedgebrook, one in Rocky Mountain National Park, and one at the Ragdale Foundation in Chicago. Her poems “Around the Block of the World” and “The Samovar” co-won the 2006 Campbell Corner Poetry Prize. She received Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts in 1984 and 1997, and has received five Pushcart Prize nominations, including 2008.


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