2016 OPEN BOOK CONTEST RESULTS

Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017. We received a record number of submissions exhibiting a diversity of styles and innovations in the essay. Thanks to all who submitted, and congratulations to our finalists and winners.

 


 
MARY-KIM ARNOLD is a poet and visual artist. Her work has been featured in a number of literary and art journals, including Tin House, The Georgia Review, Hyperallergic, and the Rumpus, where she was Essays Editor from 2013-2015. She was born in Seoul, and was raised in New York. She holds graduate degrees from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Rhode Island.
Litany for the Long Moment is composed of three sections. “Awake, Location” is a single long poem concerning the speaker’s return to Korea as part of an adoptee homeland tour. While narrating visits to tourist sites and language lessons, she reflects on her own feelings of isolation and anger. Running along the bottom of the pages of this travelogue are fragments of text taken from her “Social Study,” the official report of her condition and habits at the time of her adoption at age two. The second section, “Learn Korean,” is an essay in which the speaker attempts to claim a kind of lineage through learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Drawing from linguistics, cultural studies, and literary theory, the speaker situates herself in the context of Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Korean American poet Myung Mi Kim, and explores the interconnectedness of language and culture through the lens of migration and cultural rupture. “Litany for the Long Moment” is a lyrical co-consideration of Cha and photographer Francesca Woodman. This last section is a meditation on impermanence and death—of the speaker’s own mother, and of these two artists. Borrowing notions of photography from Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag, the essay explores the vulnerability of women’s bodies, the violence of the gaze, and the loss that permeates our lives.

 


 
KARLA KELSEY is author of three books of poetry: A Conjoined Book, Iteration Nets, and Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary. She edits and writes for the Constant Critic and, with Aaron McCollough, co-publishes SplitLevel Texts. She teaches at Susquehanna University.
A lyric meditation on affect, relationality, and environment, Of Sphere conjures a self and world that both bloom and fall apart. Given this continually unfastening attempt to make a cosmos—to equip, adorn, dress, ornament—what, this essayist wonders, is it to know, and love, and be? In constellation with the experimental prose of writers such as Hélène Cixous, Clarice Lispector, and H.D., the book investigates ways a woman, aware she’s always becoming gendered, might resist sealing into a character according to cultural norms. How to be wind through goldenrod. Clarity streaked with berry juice.

 

FINALISTS:

Diana Arterian, Arrangement of Parts
Kate Colby, The Itch
Anna Gurton-Wachter, Abundance Acts Alone
Jared Joseph, Drowsy. Drowsy Baby
Samuel Clare Knights, The Manual Alphabet
Jenifer Sang Eun Park, Horse: a self-documentary poem
Kate Partridge, Northern Ledger
JH Phrydas, Imperial Physique
Michael Martin Shea, Winner of the Fence Modern Poets Prize
 
 

FORTHCOMING

Ideal Suggestions: Essays in Divinatory Poetics by Selah Saterstrom

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION




2016 OPEN BOOK CONTEST RESULTS

Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.