Poet Stephen Dunn has chosen Michael Colonnese as the winner of the 2014 Kenneth & Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize for his book-length manuscript Double Feature. Michael Colonnese has worked as an advertising copywriter, as a chemical salesman, as a vegetable farmer, as a real estate agent, as a lobster fisherman, as a house painter, as a day laborer, as a Pinkerton guard, as a beer-truck driver, and as a soundman and editor for a documentary film company. He holds a Ph.D from SUNY Binghamton, and currently lives in Fayetteville, NC, where he directs the Creative Writing Program at Methodist University and serves as the Managing Editor of Longleaf Press.
The prize includes a $1,000 honorarium,publication by Big Pencil Press in the fall of 2014, and a week-long residency at Writers & Books’ rural retreat center, The Gell Center of the Finger Lakes. Mr. Colonnese is a resident of Fayetteville, NC.
Stephen Dunn is the widely acclaimed author of fifteen books of poetry, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2001. In his Foreword to Double Feature, Mr. Dunn writes, “Double Feature is a terrific book, mature in its orchestration of effects, and in its subtly rendered judgments.”
The Kenneth & Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize is awarded each year to a poet with an outstanding unpublished manuscript, and is judged by a distinguished poet. The prize honors Dr. and Mrs. Gell, the benefactors who donated to Writers & Books the property that is now The Gell Center of the Finger Lakes. Past winners of the prize include Hayden Saunier for her book Say Luck, selected by Laure-Anne Bosselaar; Bethany Reid for her book Sparrow, selected by Dorianne Laux; and Jay Leeming for his book Miracle Atlas, selected by William Heyen.