Poetry: 2016 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Prize Finalists

This month we feature new work from the five finalists of Omnidawn’s 2016 Poetry Chapbook contest:

최 Lindsay – PHI/L/AMENT
Patrick Kindig – Boy
Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck – we are scanning in refusal to settle on the whole image
Mary Molinary – Nucleic Song
Ethan Plaue – Zea Mays

from PLAIT


최 Lindsay

– – –

( { (a song of lamentation, a tune to whisper), (grief, in), (a
(        )), (in a, [        )), (in, (        )), (lamentation, in ((a) )), (to place meat, in a (jug)), (( ), (jug)) } )

{ (wine, flowers, revelry), (to place in a wooden bowl, which epic poets are to), (drink water from, while lyric poets may enjoy), (wine, and perhaps also), (flowers and revelry, without regard for), (carnage, or with heightened pleasure due to), (carnage

{ a particular vagueness), (entailed in kumquats, a precursor), (to grief, eggs) (in the nest, of grief), (which must also be placed, in a wooden bowl) (to sun, like flower) (water, wine collected from a wooden), (floor, glass in its truest), (shadow, not a cup), (nor a vase, nor), (a jug, but a lung and), (sorrow, a bouquet), (or palate of particular monochrome colors, heart steak), (pearl onion, more air

{ more mores), (to relinquish dance, fall prey), (to love, in the forgetting), (that all liquid must be fetched in a wooden bowl, from a river), (into which one can never step twice, and find the same), (river, or sameness, though), (in the forgetting, I have fetched), (body), (in a bowl, from the very stream), (I have often peered, for divination, though), (I have, become), (uncertain), (if it is the same, (river) if it), (ever has been, lined with birches if

{ the body I have brought back if), (it is a body, if it), (become the same body, if the song), (I have whispered to the, (river) if), (it is indeed a (song), if the wooden), (bowl I have fetched, for), (love, or grief), (or lamentation, is the bowl that will fulfill this act), (of love, if it is), (an act of love to braid song, braid body), (braid river, range)          }


choi최 Lindsay is a diasporic Korean poet and a student at UC Berkeley, where they study literature and philosophy, and work as the managing editor of Berkeley Poetry Review. They also work to establish safe housing for students of color in Berkeley. They have poems published or forthcoming in HOLD: A Journal, The Felt, and Apogee‘s print and online publications, and can be found on Twitter @chwelinji..

Candle, Lit

Patrick Kindig

He cradles the light like a child. As if
he were playing the theramin and
he were himself a theramin. His hands

lifting. The air too. Of course

he feels warmly toward it, imagines
a thumbnail passing through himself. A breath
setting him atremble. The boy imagines

his body otherwise, his body a man’s

parlor trick. Knows flame
to be a primal form of fascination,
his skin already hot and un-

predictable. Then his mouth lowered

as if to drink. Then his lips parting,
parted. Then the room emptied
of light, of the boy’s face. And the dark

expanding like a river in winter.


Kindig PhotoPatrick Kindig is a dual MFA/PhD candidate at Indiana University. He is the author of the micro-chapbook Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press 2016), and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Willow Springs, CutBank, Bombay Gin, and other journals.

too many people talking to feel alone

Tessa Micaela Landreau-Grasmuck

we borrow bodies loved and not loved and we twist trying our best

beasts in the way of today we worry about what has no shape

as the invention of future how wild the protections of

regrettable circumstance where we became used to this

an outspread wingspan you mean we expect you to feel

for us to feel into us to be beside us in the beds when we wake

fragmented night-bodies and say you want to borrow

hold until we decide we love you all the way through is / that it

what of cell death and too hot to go up any longer

wait for arrangements not ours to wait for don’t you dare

don’t borrow any more salt for wounded moons you have only

what you’ve given us you never made or asked for wraps

around take us along see that we don’t look in mirrors or wash

dirt more than let our moons / get tangled in what we let them

see for me please see for me you are a warm one with a futured

specter see for us the swinging is more than the edge /

as everyday many things will happen chapels of chimes other notes

we don’t know them so it is fair enough to say it isn’t real

we’ve given for once for a while we go the wrong way against the signs

with the kites another year without / you it’s true we don’t want

another year of missing here is all we can’t imagine

heating all the way to the top with formulas for enough

characterize the sideline directly and angled as in you’ve been taken

from us who love like we love or want to not sure any of us

get to with such small pockets of ample

we knock on alley doors in coats of armor saying your name

love does not fend off what happened to magical thinking / bullets

are the words when you don’t know how to fall quietly

try and break the surface too much water to disturb

we still think of earlier earth in bowls by proximity

wildness tamed out of us you still gather fireflies

and ladybugs and other inconspicuous delights we prefer kites

sitting around the table suggesting insatiable suggesting

grasp with more work around you place your still-life

on the water and send it along / you return clawing

do not say quiet the rain run out to it

you are already inside us with unforgiveable restlessness

you borrow a body / for a spectered night or two


Tessa MicaelaTessa Micaela is a poet, student midwife, community herbalist, and quiet firecracker. Tessa belongs to the editorial collective for HOLD: a journal, and is the author of there are boxes and there is wanting (Trembling Pillow Press, 2016) and the chapbook Crude Matter (ypolita press, 2016). Other writing has appeared in Make/shift, Dusie, Open House, Sink Review, Calamity and various other jars and corners. Tessa lives in Central Vermont, by way of Philadelphia and Oakland.

Riddle of Ursula, Fatima, & I

Mary Molinary

Ursula makes her sentences
            long as fingers
            long as the fingers of Fatima

            Fatima sings of longer
            days slowly         of
            shorter days quickly she
            also sings

            Ursula makes whilst Fatima sings

            Ursula makes a pair of gold-finches
            appear in her sentences

            One is bright yellow with a black
            face      tufts of slight
            surprise             the other she
            makes more green less black both

            Perch on dry-drooping late summer                  Fatima sings a song of gold-
            sunflowers      eat upside down                                       finches & days growing
                                                                                                     shorter                Fatima holds
                                                                                                     her last notes long as shadows

                                                                                       Ursula holds her stylus at the ready

                                                                                                     & I                    not present
                                                                                                     for the makings of Ursula or
                                                                                                     the singings of Fatima
                                                                                                     I’m busy           there are
                                                                                                     termites in the bulwarks
                                                                                                     I am busy


mmolinaryMary Molinary currently resides in Tucson, though her subjectivity is nomadic. In lieu of a fleshier bio, she offers this from Albert Einstein: “The economic anarchy of a capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil…This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil.” (“Why Socialism?”, 1949, The Monthly Review)


Ethan Plaue


All this time

            became           since out of

            can be so        it makes so

what                           attended to attending

would about it


after                           the appeared

were those that first

publically                  first after

later                           that


Time zone

four legs                                 what do they

leave the ground                     not live

ladies and gentlemen
Dec. 7



explicitly for              or quick
at its subject

to the study

will it be                    between

if immediate with      contact


Wares assembled

bodily gestures

replay                special little dens

image1Ethan Plaue’s poems are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly and VOLT.