During our 2017 submission period, we received almost 230 manuscripts: 87 for the Debut Series, and 141 for the Vella Series. As I’m sure I state every time, these decisions are so difficult, especially because there are so many excellent poems and stories, and they deserve to be told. I limit the Finalist list to roughly 10% of the submissions received in each category; my list of submissions that I had flagged as extraordinary and as serious possibilities for publication was over double that, at closer to a full quarter of the works received. This is all to say that, while we’re certainly celebrating the authors listed below, please also take a moment to celebrate your own work, and the value of your own words, even if I didn’t have room to take them on this year.

Please join me in congratulating the following winners and finalists of our 2017 contest reading period:

Debut Series Winners:
Humming Dirges – Geoff Anderson
Postcards from the New World – Shankar Narayan

Debut Series Finalists:
Bayna-Bayna, In-Between: Poems about Refugees and Loss – Zeina Azzam
Red and Vast – Kristi Carter
Peninsular Scar – Leah Claire Kaminski
Mobile Devices Can’t Smell Honeysuckle – John Meyers
What Paradise – Linda Michel-Cassidy
Never Leave the Foot of an Animal Unskinned – Sara Ryan
Onset – Kate Schultz
The Veteran’s Wife – Laura Budofski Wisniewski

Vella Winners:
A Crooked Door Cut into the Sky – Melissa Fite Johnson
After Bullet – Casandra Lopez
Like Drowning – Victoria Moore

Vella Finalists:
Two Good Ears – Leah Browning
Echo, Unravel – Amy Ash Callista Buchen
Protection – Jonathan Cardew
Triptychs on a White Belt – Yu-han Chao
Decants – Heidi Czerwiec
Terminating Physics [a reference guide] – Bryce Emley
A Small Book of Jumbies – Justin Haynes
23 Minutes to Midnight – Justin Jannise
the burgeoning world – Sonja Johanson
Erasing the Book of Pregnancy – Heather Lanier
The Belle of San Francisco – David Maduli
Pentimento – Alysse McCanna
Onset – Kate Schultz
Your Heroes for Ghosts – Eliot Khalil Wilson

My sincerest thanks to all who entered this year, and for the honor of being able to read your work.

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