Tag Archives: Hudson Prize

A Love Letter to Lagos

The Giving of Pears may be Abayomi Animashaun’s debut collection, but it is receiving the sort of acclaim that many poets wait their whole careers to receive. Rigoberto González has reviewed this Hudson Prize-winning title for Harriet, the Poetry Foundation blog. And here are some bits of what he had to say:

The growing body of critically-acclaimed Nigerian authors on the American bookshelves (think Chris Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Uwem Akpan) have given incredible insights into the history and politics of the most populated country in Africa. A new voice has joined that distinguished company with the publication of Abayomi Animashaun’s The Giving of Pears by Black Lawrence Press, a gorgeous collection that celebrates the collisions and cooperations between the Nigerian and Western cultures…

The Giving of Pears prefers to mine the beauty of a country that has become synonymous with overpopulation and conflict. No small effort given that the impressions that usually travel from the African continent are shaped by the non-stop devastating accounts of war, violence and famine. This book is in praise of the other face of Nigeria, and a love letter to Lagos…

We at Black Lawrence Press have loved this book since it first came to us in manuscript form in 2008. We are so pleased that it is winning the hearts of other readers now that it has been published. The entire review is available online here.

You can order your copy of The Giving of Pears from the Black Lawrence Press website.

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Abayomi Animashaun

A NEW RELIGION

It sounds pompous. And, at best. Done:

Each one claiming a new way. Each one with its leader standing behind a lectern raising his hands. Blessing those present.

And they with eyes closed listening intently to rhythms, say, of the holy ghost. Or, for our purposes. Its equivalent.

But imagine. And stay with me on this. One where everyone already belonged: Those dead as well. And still to come.

Imagine the temples made of strands from each person’s breath.  Candles lit
with dreams of the dead.

Rituals performed in the language of the unborn. And hymns, the movement of bodies stretching alone in bed. Or, beside a loved one.

And imagine each man being his own Good News: A ready-made priest. Able to
minister quietly to the needs of his heart. When all departs.

That the homeless under the bridge. With the mucous. And cold sneeze.
Contributes to the day’s hymn.

And the man, who last year broke my heart, is arriving at his new lover’s house. A priest, I hope, of loving heart. Waiting for him in the bedroom. Nude. Ready to share of his own good news.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: As I recall, I was in Madison, Wisconsin at the time. I recall also having a massive writer’s block that day, which left me sitting on my chair for hours without writing a single word. For some reason, however, I started thinking of reality television shows and how unbearably boring one on poets might be. I was thinking about this, when I mindlessly opened a folder containing a very old poem. I moved several words around. And, as luck would have it, I stumbled upon the core of what would eventually be this poem.

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: This is a hard question. And one could easily rattle off names. But, pressed, I’d have to say a collection of Montaigne’s essays. That crazy old man never ceases to amaze me. I read him over and again. And each time I read him, I feel my imagination become so thoroughly loosened that I see no inherent contradictions in equating the Pope with Don Quixote or an Imam with a pigeon.

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?

A: I have a strange addiction to a bean delicacy common among the Yoruba, known as moin-moin. By itself, it is a chief meal – regal and august. But, it works particularly well with eko [a type of corn meal], which only goes to show that humility is not the sole property of homo sapiens.

Abayomi Animashaun is the winner of the 2008 Hudson Prize with his collection of poems The Giving of Pears, now available for purchase at Black Lawrence Press.

Reminder: The Hudson Prize Early Bird Special

Just a friendly reminder that the Hudson Prize early bird special expires at 11:59 EST on Janury, 31. That’s next Sunday!

Here are the instructions for taking advantage of the early bird special:

Because we know that many writers have been hit especially hard by the economic downturn, we are offering a fantastic early bird special. If you submit your manuscript to The Hudson Prize before February 1, 2010, we will only charge you the price of one of our titles. The choice is yours. Most of our titles are priced between $14 and $18. (And we carry great chapbooks that are only $9!)

Here’s how it works:

1) Go to www.blacklawrencepress.com.

2) Click on the “Books” button on the left side of the page.

3) Order a title that interests you.

4) Shortly after placing your order, you will receive an email from Paypal with your receipt. Keep that for your records. Don’t worry about forwarding it to us; we can cross-check everything on our end.

5) Send your cover letter and manuscript to editors@blacklawrencepress.com before February 1, 2010. In your cover letter, note the title that you purchased.

6) That’s it!

We look forward to reading your submissions!

-The Black Lawrence Press Team

Hudson Prize Winner and Finalists Announced

PAt BW 001Congratulations to Patrick Michael Finn

Black Lawrence Press is pleased to announce the winner and finalists of the 2009 Hudson Prize. Congratulations to Patrick Michael Finn whose short story collection From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet is this year’s winner. The collection will be available from Black Lawrence Press in 2011. Congratulations also to the finalists and semi-finalists who are listed on the Black Lawrence Press website.

Each year Black Lawrence Press awards The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. Hudson Prize winning manuscripts are published by the press and their authors are awarded cash prizes of $1,000.

Patrick Michael Finn was born in Joliet, Illinois and was raised there and in rural Southern California. He completed his B.A at the University of California, Riverside and his M.F.A. at the University of Arizona, where he was a Dean’s Teaching Fellow. His first book, the novella A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich, was selected as winner of the 2006 Ruthanne Wiley Memorial Novella Competition and published by The Cleveland State University Poetry Center. A winner of the AWP Intro Award, selected by Benjamin Alíre Sáenz, and the 2004 Third Coast Fiction Prize, judged by Stuart Dybek, Finn’s stories have appeared in Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Third Coast, Quarterly West, The Clackamas Literary Review, Punk Planet, and Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Mystery Stories 2004. His fiction has also received citations in the 2005 Pushcart Prize and The Best American Short Stories 2008. He has taught writing at the University of Arizona, Western Nebraska Community College, and the University of North Carolina, Asheville, where he was awarded the 2006 Teaching Excellence Award. In 2007 he founded and currently coordinates the creative writing program at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. He lives in Arizona with his wife, poet Valerie Bandura, and their son James.