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Winners of the Paraclete Press Poetry Prize Announced

Posted By: Rachel McKendree ACP Member News ,

March 25, 2020 – After several months reading and discussing sixty-three outstanding entries, judges Mark S. Burrows, Luci Shaw, and Jon M. Sweeney are pleased to announce the winners of the First Paraclete Poetry Prize.   

First Prize winner is Laura Reece Hogan of Calabasas, California, for her manuscript, Litany of Flights. In addition to being a talented poet, Hogan holds both J.D. and M.A. degrees. She is also a Third Order Carmelite. 

Second Prize winner is Amy Bornman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for her manuscript, There Is a Future: A Year of Daily Midrash. Bornman is a small business owner and a new poet, aged 26. 

Judge Luci Shaw, an award-winning poet herself of many decades, says: “It was a pleasure to read and review so much profoundly good poetry. This gives me hope for the world, that we can express ourselves through poetry in a way that heals the disjuncture we are experiencing. ‘Distancing’ can be overcome, and hope and beauty can be celebrated.”

Both winners will be published by Paraclete Poetry – Laura Reece Hogan in Fall 2020, and Amy Bornman early in 2021.  

Scroll down to read the title poem from the First Prize-winning manuscript.


Litany of Flights
by Laura Reece Hogan, from the forthcoming collection Litany of Flights

First, the winged movement, steady, forward. Scrub jays in flitting
progress, hawks in predator glide, a ringing up, a knife-sharp slope

down. Second, the effortless type, wind-splayed, motionless pinions
in thermal recline, as the Psalmist says, blessings breeze his love even

in sleep. Third, the hungry, against the gale, the destination singular
and the sun dipping crimson. Fourth, the metallic, business or pleasure.

Fifth, the whirring kind, all hummingbird. A picnic, apples and chocolate
in the garden with roses, both flower and child. You miss it when it’s gone. 

Sixth, a baffling flight of stairs, winding upward, passage and yet vehicle,
spiraling to unseen landings—hope courses in the kaleidoscopic lights.

Seventh, soar to the sun. Eighth, melt in bitter hubris. You know the story.
Ninth, escape. A flight out of Egypt, a path through the sea cleared by

divine hand. The times you ran, the times you were left behind in lament.
Tenth, only rotting in the belly of a whale tames your stubborn turn from

Nineveh. Eleventh, flights of despair and of yearning, two sides of one
letting go, hard-earned release back into the wild, unbound by expectation,

featherlike. Twelfth, in a moment, caught up high by the Beloved, the one
making all things work together, wings, body, arch, air—caught up, like the

Shulamite bride, to regions beyond aeronautical wisdom, transported in joy.
See, he says, the painful paring of your hollow bones has made you light.