Congratulations to Jendi Reiter and Laura Shearer, who were selected by Bob Butler and Michelle Tea as the winners of the 2011 Enizagam Literary Awards in Poetry and Fiction!
Of Jendi’s short story, “Five Assignments and a Mistake,” Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler writes: “In her winning piece, Jendi Reiter shows some of the rarest and most essential talents of a literary writer: a natural, free-associating, compelling narrative voice; a deep rootedness in the sensual world; and a gift for metaphor that is not only fresh and vivid but resonates organically into the wholeness of the story. Ms. Reiter is a fine writer whose work I look forward to following closely.”
Of Laura’s poems, “Lonely Car,” “Jimmy Triffin,” “Will Not Mend,” “You Better Know By Now” and “Childless,” acclaimed author Michelle Tea writes: “Laura Shearer’s stark, compact poems leave room for big lonely to come in, the poet writing as much with the spaces in between as with the words chosen, hard, wistful words, country words. All together they sprawl like some tall sky punched with sad, tough clouds. If you read them once you want to read them again, and again, their feeling growing. A beautiful, spooky creation.”
Michelle and Bob had these kind words to say about OSA:
“What better thing can there be than OSA? What better than a place that lets young artists be artists, that sees them as they are – noble, lucky, special- and urges them deeper into their very own selves, and through these magic, creative selves, out into the world. I wish every kid could go to such a great place. OSA’s existence is living justice, and the students are nothing less than scouts of hope for the rest of us.” - Michelle Tea
“I see Oakland School for the Arts not only as a splendid nurturer of young talent but as an integral part of a truly important cultural phenomenon. In parlous times like these, when divisiveness and distrust pervade the zeitgeist, more than ever we need artists, whose very job it is to assure us all that the things that divide us are not as important as the human condition we share. In the creation of new generations of artists, Oakland School for the Arts is not only admirable but deeply necessary.” – Robert Olen Butler
2011 Finalists are:
Peter Kahn, for “Sniff,” “An Evening Prayer,” “Lineage,” “It Rhymes With Wilt” and “Sitting Here In.”
Nicholas Kriefall, for “Nostalgia,” “After Hours,” “Long Vacation,” “Neighborhood Watch” and “Night Shift.”
Rae Gouirand, for “High Street,” “Moon Jellies,” “Canoe and Cicadas,” “Sounds” and “Firewood.”
Emily Danforth, for “A Ditch; A Channel.”
Cassandra Seltman, for “Never Order the Fish.”
Enizagam’s staff is grateful to the many skilled writers – from India, Japan, Canada and the U.S. – who submitted their work; to our gracious celebrity judges; and to everyone else who came together to make Enizagam 2011 a dazzling collection. Writers: we urge you to enter the 2012 contest, which will be judged by Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler) and Nikki Giovanni. Our staff received many stunning works, which might have placed in the contest, via the general submissions process.
Enizagam also extends our deepest apologies to Nicholas Kriefall, a Literary Awards 2011 Poetry finalist whose work dazzled the entire staff. We omitted Nick’s bio from the issue. The missing bio:
Nicholas Kriefall: Native to Missouri, Nick is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri where he earned a minor in creative writing. In 2008 and 2009 he was a finalist in the David Baker Poetry Contest. Nick currently lives in St. Louis.