Brian Zhao - Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop Prize for Innovative Writing

These poems are grounded in the thick shifts of soil that nourish us all – humans, animals, and ghosts – in a deft language that can be measured and contemplative, or gently framed in layers of physicality that peel, press, and touch – at times tenderly, at times congealing in an ominous undergrowth. Time and space have a precarious conflation: and so it is for the “lonely duck in evaporating puddle.” These supple poems invite meditation, delight, and empathy.