Award Winners

2020 Anna Rabinowitz Prize

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Finalists

Logan Berry

Nora Claire Miller


Selected by Darcie Dennigan

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is the 2020 recipient of the Anna Rabinowitz Prize for her collection, Travesty Generator (Noemi Press).

The Anna Rabinowitz Prize is awarded for interdisciplinary work made in the previous year and combining poetry and any other art or discipline.

Finalists:

Logan Berry, for adapting and directing Olivia Cronk and Philip Sorenson's "There is No Edge to Imaginary Things"
Nora Claire Miller, Deep Fried Poems

The judge's citation:

​A box of books large enough to fit three pecks of apples was submitted for this prize, each book so stunning and smart it sent off sparks. I was prejudiced against the books. The Rabinowitz prize calls for "venturesome" work, and no matter the risk taken in the work itself, a book as end product still felt relatively safe, offered to its reader at a comfortable distance. The more embroiling and ephemeral works—especially the deeply layered poets theater of Logan Berry and the absurdist adventure of Nora Claire Miller's deep fried poems—drew me. But then there was Lillian-Yvonne Bertram's Travesty Generator: Oulipianesque poems constructed with Python and Javascript that proceduralize the final moments of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, that algorithmize decolonization. What responsibility do I have to interrogate the software that runs my life? How do my clicks perpetuate bias? ​These poems are not essays and do not ask these questions. The poems are the questions. So, not a book passively imbibed. Not a poetry that lets doubt, ambivalence, or exhaustion excuse us. We've read Garner's last three words "I can't breathe." And now we read the poem "#/usr/bin/python/three_last_words" that is reading us reading it. Bertram is impossibly in two places at once—They are a writer and they are a reader of the same poem (possibly every poet's fantasy/nightmare?). They are interloper in a world of code written by mostly white men. Their book is a collaboration, and an intervention, and a virus. Travesty Generator cannot be stopped or closed. It infects the mind and opens itself every time you're online.


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