2022 Vandewater Poetry Prize Winner
"'Alchemy: An Abridged Biography' braids together the incongruous in the tradition of non-fiction writing, while brief, episodic stanzas attempt to build towards (or alchemize towards) a cohesive narrative of the self. Where the poem fails, repeats, reattempts (“which also means it’s possible to transmute lead into gold / and death into life and me into—more or less—me”), it veers to the outer edges of its long, enjambed lines, even as it veers towards the edges of the universe (inherently always experienced by a self). Deeply philosophical and sonically evocative (“tilt my head back and lick glass clean”), “ALCHEMY” is the poem as a question that must endlessly be asked. Each time I read it I am profoundly moved."
—Raena Shirali, author of GILT
"Dirty, Poz, Faggot, G.R.I.D: pseudonyms for the boy I don’t want to be. Gay-related. Gay-related. I don’t want to be gay-related. I don’t want to be human-immunodeficient either. I don’t want to be in this I.D. clinic reading Tiny Beautiful Things, a book of collected advice columns, a bible that replaced my bible, turning random pages as if I can divine an answer by believing I can find it. But there are no columns in this book for what I’m facing, no answer to the question parading through my head. Why didn’t I ask him to pull himself out?"