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For our inaugural contest, guest judge Chloe Honum chose Hex, by Sarah Sousa. 

Praise for Hex:


“The poems in Hex sing blazing love songs for the physical, natural world in our frightening age of climate change and its violence. With strikingly sensory language and lyric intelligence, these poems carve deep paths of grief, tenderness, and dire warning. From within “this age of unmothering,” here is a voice that persists in telling of “the life where I learn / even water must be earned if we’re to reclaim the garden.” This is an urgent and achingly beautiful collection.”

–Chloe Honum, author of The Tulip-Flame and Then Winter


“Sarah Sousa’s chapbook Hex casts with the power of both protective amulet and curse, ligatures oral folktale, tight lyricism, and the wild spirit of epic poetry. This spellbinding allegory, both harrowing and hopeful, asks of Mother what role for us, now we’ve destroyed her: “If the bones of your white bears / are sinking through rotten ice, / Mother, / what of me, your less / beloved creation?” ... These poems weave nets that swallow us into the black maw, catch fish not for eating but for scrying the signs, divining the world around us through the speaker-as-seer’s eye, though Sousa warns us— poets and writers, witchy spirits, dreamers— “There’s no cure for an oracle.”


–Jenn Givhan, author of Girl with Death Mask and Rosa’s Einstein  

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Sarah Sousa is the author of the poetry collections See the Wolf, named a 2019 ‘Must Read’ book by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, Split the Crow, and Church of Needles, as well as the chapbook Yell. Her poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, North American Review, The Southern Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others. Her honors include a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship and a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship. She is a member of the board of directors of Perugia Press.

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