Poetry: Omnidawn Book Prize Finalists

Rob Schlegel
Jane Gregory
Lily Ladewig
Juliana Leslie
John Myers


Rob Schlegel
I scare the birds off shore

by moving my jaw up and down

Amidst the wreckage

a white shirt falls out of the sky

Its arms move like nothing I’ve ever seen

Shapes of bodies vary

as pale spires cast shadows of regular length

over sacred ground

I live nearby

looking out over the water

there is a posture there

and I recognize it

From a distance the horizon is a place

and so is the mind
Faces take names for neon fruit

extending safety

into glass colonies, sincere

as my attempt to speak                                                                        (…)

on behalf of my faith in me
I filter grief through notes

gendered mouths cannot release

Out of choice      out of love

what progress means to nation
Heeding warnings form reveals

lines relieve pressure

trapped beneath doors

floating on the sea

I live in fear till fear becomes

that part of me

impossible to face

Rob Schlegel is the author of The Lesser Fields, winner of the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Bloom, winner of the 2010 Midwest Chapbook Prize. His book reviews have appeared in Boston Review, Jacket2 and Pleiades. He currently teaches creative writing and literature at Cornell College and with Daniel Poppick, edits The Catenary Press.



Jane Gregory
At the cross-bow take aim at the

fox-glove, how far it isn’t from

compel to repulse. An attempt of what

but to get it to you. Your little head

grafted on the window because of the grid

it is. I sleep in the mascot suit and at crosspurposes

with the night. I’ve been outside

to know by the charcoal in the split grass

what the sun collages to exclude: night

night night night night. Goodnight the arena

of the forum of the mind that can’t tell the difference

strung between image and idea, makes one thing

of face and shield. Arrives at face

through shield, the expression of

the memory of the arena of so much

as the backpage advertisement in this stupid book


Jane Gregory is from Tucson, Arizona.  She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and currently lives in Berkeley, where she is a student in the UC Berkeley English department.  Her recent work has appeared in JERRY, MARY, and in a chapbook, “Some Books,” published by The Song Cave.
from Shadow Boxes

Lily Ladewig
For years I made a living. Making sweaters and cakes. The square of light around. My bedroom door. Also captivated with birds. These boxes are meant to be handled. My skin takes its color. Takes it all. You continue to comment. I tend to have a favorite piece or silhouette I wear constantly until something else catches my eye. The city is the place where. At nightfall our shadows grow up to become choreographers. They instruct the dancers not to touch but to imagine touching. We tried. To make it look antique the usual practice is to stain. The city is the place.

Lily Ladewig’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Absent, Conduit, Denver Quarterly, H_NGM_N, No Tell Motel, and Supermachine. With Anne Cecelia Holmes, she is the co-author of the e-chapbook <em>I Am A Natural Wonder (Blue Hour Press, 2011). She lives in Brooklyn.
Something About Finches

Juliana Leslie
I listen to corners where hands fumble

I am a thrush a piece of thread

It proves to be in other skirts

An x in the center laughing

An accent over what

A hum is not powerless to be

I am not the witness of

A swift secondary feature

Wind under a fire

This is only something I said I saw

Juliana Leslie is the author of More Radiant Signal, recently published by Letter Machine Editions, and two chapbooks, Pie in the Sky (Braincase Press) and That Obscure Coincidence of Feeling (Dusie Kolektiv). She lives in Santa Cruz, CA and teaches and studies at UC Santa Cruz.

John Myers
The festival these times I feel luck hard

as a caramel. We both run orchards

out our minds and I want to see you smile

again the way you do it in the mush.

Now that the festival is generous

we like mice, organic mice, because they

blink in unison, forget to stammer

and he, himself, unfurls, jars shut with, yes,

nails in their mouths—nails!—if you like them, when

my moths want to nuzzle, I do apply

alternatives. This proves that I can, in

collusion, know more than you let me. Could,

anyway. I could be static as goods!—

and smooth as any good want. Will I want

is a choice each of us has to make. I

shall give you my wagged, asymptomatic

arms—stepped on? Yes, you are wearing cider,

my mistletoe guesses at your square feet.

As a butterfly in way over its

intercept, I taste easily, I boast

whenever eyes like the feet of flies.

John Myers has degrees in biology from Oberlin College and poetry from the University of Montana. Some of the other poems from Cider Kit have appeared in ABJECTIVE and FRiGG, and he collaborated this August with Sarah Gridley and Jessica McGuinness on Equinox Equinox. He works with people who have developmental disabilities in Missoula.

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