Meet the Judges
What elements of a good poem or story excite you?
"I LOOK FOR cross-realm stakes, a parable playing out in the streets. Increased specificity and lyric rigor, evidence of considerations outside of this contemporary moment and its literature. "
Image by: Zakkiyyah Najeebah
Poetry: Ladan Osman
Ladan Osman is an artist-educator whose work is a lyric and exegetic response to problems of race, gender, displacement, and colonialism. She is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (2015), winner of a Sillerman First Book Prize. Her writing appears in a variety of publications. Osman is a contributing editor at The Blueshift Journal, and lives in Brooklyn.
Prose: Matthew Olzmann
I CAN BE DRAWN to an eclectic variety of stories. In fact, one of the things I appreciate most about our current literary moment is the increasing breadth and range of aesthetics, styles and approaches. One day, I might be moved by a voice that’s brash and irreverent, the next it might be a lyrical meditation, an absurdist parable, or a quiet prayer. What all these works generally have in common is their ability to transport the reader, briefly, but powerfully, away from themselves. When reading something I love, the world changes a little; at the end of the last page, the world suddenly is stranger, closer or more vivid than it was a moment before."
Matthew Olzmann is the author of Mezzanines, which was selected for the Kundiman Prize, and Contradictions in the Design, both from Alice James Books. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kresge Arts Foundation. His poems, stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, Brevity, Necessary Fiction, Southern Review and elsewhere. He is a lecturer at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren College.