Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize for an Undergraduate Student Poet
The Virginia Rucker Walter Poetry Prize for an Undergraduate Poet is named for Virginia Rucker Walter, who was a poet and student at UGA in the 1980s. Virginia Walter was killed by a drunk driver before she was able to graduate, but her family presents this prize in honor of her memory and in celebration of her love of writing poetry.
Winner: [Deep in the earth, a blind populace waits] by Andrew Benzinger
Dan Rosenberg, judge: "This untitled poem draws me in with the exciting range of both its vision and its diction. It describes gravity as a “venomous belladonna” condemning “butterfoot fools” to death, and I relish a voice that confident. By the end of the poem, we’re left with the best kinds of questions: those that defy answers, that shape in their very asking the limits of both faith and reason to elevate us from our fallen condition."
Andrew Benzinger is a fourth-year English (Creative Writing) major with a Criminal Justice minor at UGA. He's written stories, poetry, and articles for Stillpoint Literary Magazine, The Red & Black, Nuance Magazine, and Raconteur Magazine, and he currently assists Stillpoint as co-editor.
Diann Blakely Poetry Prize for a Graduate Student Poet
The Diann Blakely Poetry Prize for a Graduate Student Poet is presented in honor of American poet, essayist, editor, and critic Diann Blakely. Before passing away in 2014, Diann was known for her commitment to southern poetry and culture. She taught at Belmont University, Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, and was a former poetry editor at the Antioch Review and at New World Writing. This award is made possible as part of the Diann Blakely Visiting Poet Fund.
Winner: “Pricarius Hysteresis” by Jacqueline Kari
Dan Rosenberg, judge: "How to talk about such a wild, immersive, polyphonic poem? Beginning with “Pray, tell me, sweet sister,” this poem nods to its epic roots, then pivots into mythology, liturgy, fable, and more, until its puns and play create a register of sensitive syllabic attention all its own. The language of this poem slip-spills through erudition and allusion into a surprising urgency, clawing at the doorway of understanding. I’m saying it weaves something beautiful with its many tongues, and by the end mine is exhausted, joyous, sated, from trying to keep up."
Jacqueline Kari is a recently minted PhD in creative writing from the University of Georgia. Her poems are available in the recent chapbook please | sure (Birds of Lace, 2019), and her work can be found at Annulet, The Georgia Review, Tarpaulin Sky, Dreginald, and elsewhere.
Dan Rosenberg is the author of Bassinet (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2022), cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015), and The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012). He has also written two chapbooks, Thigh's Hollow (Omnidawn, 2015) and A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010), and he co-translated Miklavž Komelj's Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, 2016). His work has won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest, and recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Conduit, and Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets. Rosenberg holds a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a Ph.D. from The University of Georgia, where he was a Presidential Fellow. He is the chair of the English department at Wells College, where he teaches literature, creative writing, and translation theory. He also coordinates the Wells College Visiting Writers Series and edits the Wells College Press Chapbook Contest. Rosenberg lives in Ithaca, NY, with his wife, essayist and poet Alicia Rebecca Myers, and their son, Miles.