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    Winners of the Second Annual Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award

    May 30, 2022
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    Congratulations to winner Bruce Bennett for his poem “Stopping by with Flowers” and to finalists Sherry Shenoda for “Sugarcane Memories” and Eric T. Racher for “Sonnet addressed to George Oppen, Arlington National Cemetery,” all published in Plough Quarterly No. 32: Hope in Apocalypse. The winners were announced at a livestreamed event with Rhina P. Espaillat and Plough poetry editor A. M. Juster. The award is for a poem of not more than fifty lines that reflects Espaillat’s lyricism, empathy, and ability to find grace in everyday events of life. The 2022 competition attracted over 750 poems.

    Plough’s 2023 poetry competition is now open. The winner receives $2000, and two finalists receive $250. All three will be published in Plough. Submit your new poems here.


    Bruce Bennett

    Bruce Bennett

    Bruce Bennett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1940. He received his AB, AM, and PhD from Harvard, and from 1967 to 1970 taught at Oberlin College, where he co-founded and served as an editor of Field. In 1970 he moved back to Cambridge, where he co-founded Ploughshares. In 1971, he married Bonnie Apgar, a Renaissance art historian; they have two children. In 1973 he began teaching at Wells College in Aurora, New York. At Wells, Bennett taught British and American literature and creative writing, was chair of the English department, and served as director of Wells College Press, which he helped to found. Bennett retired in June 2014.

    Bennett is the author of ten full-length collections of poetry and more than thirty poetry chapbooks. His most recent book is Just Another Day in Just Our Town (Orchises, 2017). He was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2012, and his poems have appeared widely in literary journals, textbooks, and anthologies. Read his poem “Stopping By with Flowers.”


    Sherry Shenoda

    Sherry Shenoda

    Sherry Shenoda is an Egyptian-American poet and pediatrician, born in Cairo and now living near Los Angeles with her husband and two sons. She won the 2021 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets for her poetry collection Mummy Eaters (University of Nebraska Press, 2022) and was shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She is also the author of a novel, The Lightkeeper (Ancient Faith, 2021).

    Shenoda serves as a pediatrician in a nonprofit health center and has studied the effects of armed conflict on child health. She says her Coptic Orthodox Christian faith informs her practice of medicine, and her practice of medicine informs her faith, and both inform her writing. Read her poem “Sugarcane Memories.”


    Eric T. Racher

    Eric T. Racher

    Eric T. Racher was born in Akron, Ohio, and currently lives in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of a chapbook of poetry, Five Functions Defined on Experience: For Jay Wright (2021), and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetica, Dreich, and Maximus. Read his poem “Sonnet Addressed to George Oppen, Arlington National Cemetery.”

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