Poetry News

Inside Saturnalia Books

By Harriet Staff

Check out this interview with Saturnalia Books over at LitBridge. The interview focuses, mostly, on their poetry prizes and contests.

Here's a taste before you go:

Please describe the contests of Saturnalia Books? How long have you been running these contests? What motivated you to start the contest?

Saturnalia Books has one contest per year, the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, judged by a nationally renowned poet. This year Lynn Emanuel judged. Next year Yusef Komunyakaa will judge. In previous years we’ve asked a variety of major American poets to judge. We hope that having judges as diverse aesthetically as Mark Doty, Bob Hicok and Forrest Gander (to name a few) ensures that we won’t be over-representing a single strand of poetry. The motivation to start a contest comes from wanting to cast a wide net out there to find out what people are writing, and what kind of concerns, both literary and not, are engaging poets today.

What sort of qualities do you look for in a manuscript or piece of work that you are considering for publication or for becoming a finalist in the contest?

We look for something that will both fit into our present catalog and also expand the “voice” of our press at the same time. We don’t want people to say that a book feels out of step with what we value in poetry, but we also don’t want to fall into the trap of picking the same kinds of book over and over again. We are opposed to the idea of having a preset aesthetic.

Originally Published: August 17th, 2012