2014 Nightboat Poetry Prize Winner
Nightboat Books is delighted to announce the winner of the 11th annual Nightboat Poetry Prize competition: Vi Khi Nao of Iowa City, Iowa, whose manuscript The Old Philosopher was selected by the editors. She will receive the $1,000 prize in addition to the publication of her book by Nightboat Books in April 2016.
Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khanh, Vietnam in 1979. In 2013, she graduated with an MFA in fiction from Brown University, where she received the John Hawkes and Feldman Prizes in fiction and the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Awards in poetry. Vi’s work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in NOON, The Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review and elimae, among others. She is the author of two novellas, Swans in Half-Mourning (2013) and The Vanishing Point of Desire (2011).
The poems of The Old Philosopher are keen and bright; sharp like ice in winter, these seemingly fractured lines perform the strangest roles. I believe in all the wicked wisdom contained here. Vi Khi Nao risks much--she weights each line with deep spiritual and emotional resonance, yet the voice of the poems never fails to surprise. The opening section of quirky, lacerating lyrics give way to a deceptively quiet series of narrative poems that only serve to show how fully language can come to inhabit lived experience without compromising one stitch of poetry's power to de-center and disturb. The collection closes with a masterful prose sequence that fuses the various approaches of the poems that came before. Political, prayerful, peripatetic, the work of Vi Khi Nao feels so necessary, so intense, so immediately now.
Submissions for the 12th annual Nightboat Books Poetry Prize are now open. The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2015. Please check our submission guidelines for more details.