Announcing the Backwaters Prize in Poetry Winner

The University of Nebraska Press is proud to announce the winner of the Backwaters Prize in Poetry for 2020: Nathaniel Perry and his manuscript Long Rules: An Essay in Verse.

Perry will be awarded $2,000 for his winning collection and itwill be published in the fall of 2021. He is the author of a previous book of poems, Nine Acres (APR/Copper Canyon, 2011). Perry is currently the editor of Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and lives in rural southside Virginia. 

“A thousand thanks to Backwaters Press, the final judge for the prize, and anyone who invested time in this,” said Perry. “It means so much to have had anyone choose this strange little book, and I’m thrilled it will be coming into the world in this way.”

The honorable mention is Amy Haddad from Omaha, Nebraska. She will be awarded $1,000 and her manuscript, An Otherwise Healthy Woman, will be published in the spring of 2022. Haddad is a nurse, ethicist and poet who taught in the health sciences at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska for thirty years.

“As a lifetime Nebraskan, I am delighted that my first poetry collection has been chosen for Honorable Mention,” said Haddad. Her writing draws on her experiences as a nurse, family caregiver, and patient at the intersection of technology driven health care and vulnerability.

The judge this year was Matt Mason, the current Nebraska State Poet.

“Both poets take you into very different worlds, sit you down, and show you what it is like to live inside those places. That’s a real gift as a reader, and it takes incredible skill for a poet,” said Mason. “But these collections are so well crafted, you lose yourself whether in an encounter from today’s headlines or in the contemplation of a monastic retreat.”

The 2019 Backwaters Prize winner was Jennifer Sweeney from Redlands, California. Her winning collection, Foxlogic, Fireweed was published this month.

Congratulations to Nathaniel and Amy!

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