This year we received over nine hundred submissions to our annual poetry prize. We are excited to announce that the Nightboat Editors have chosen two manuscripts for publication in 2024!
The winners of the 2022 Nightboat Poetry Prize are:
components of a child’s destiny & there’s a party in the canopy & i make an oil painting of a bribe by Funto Omojola
apparitions (nines) by Nat Raha
Congratulations to our winners! Read more about each of the prize-winning manuscripts, and find a list of our finalists below.
components of a child’s destiny & there’s a party in the canopy & i make an oil painting of a bribe
by Funto Omojola
components of a child’s destiny & there’s a party in the canopy & i make an oil painting of a bribe summons Yoruba histories and Ifá divination rituals into a hospital room. Incantatory verses called “ese” accumulate alongside personal and historical “figures” of illness and death to illuminate the tensions between legibility and meaning-making that emerge when an ill Black body is processed through a Western medical context. With intimate knowledge of how ancestral memory aches and sings in the body, Funto Omojola invokes a lamenting chorus that will enthrall all who enter this ceremony of survival.
Funto Omojola is a Nigerian-American poet, performer, and visual artist. A 2022-2023 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow with the Poetry Project and a 2023 Cave Canem Fellow, their work has appeared in the Boston Review, Pigeon Pages, Ghost Proposal, and elsewhere. components of a child’s destiny & there’s a party in the canopy & i make an oil painting of a bribe is their first full length publication.
by Nat Raha
Amidst the violence of capitalism and state and imperial power, there is Nat Raha’s apparitions (nines) in its “charred golden minidress,” ushering us into a space for the grief and resistance, the embodiedness and intimacy of trans and diasporic Black and brown people. Written as a series of “niners,” a poetic form consisting of nine nine-syllable lines, apparitions (nines) is at once a brash and subversive rejoinder to the Anglophone sonnet, as well as an ode to beauty, collectivity, and tenderness which emerges from—and far surpasses—constraint.
Dr. Nat Raha is a poet, activist-scholar, and Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Her previous books of poetry include of sirens, body & faultlines (2018) and countersonnets (2013). Her work is anthologized in We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics and 100 Queer Poems. Recent critical writing appears in Queer Print in Europe, Transgender Marxism, The New Feminist Literary Studies, Third Text and TSQ. With Mijke van der Drift, Nat co-edits Radical Transfeminism zine, and is co-authoring the book Trans Femme Futures: An Abolitionist Ethics for Transfeminist Worlds.
Congratulations to Our Finalists!
cells, fully differentiated by Kinsey Cantrell
Fires seen from space by Betsy Fagin
Sissy Dat Mark by Maurice Moore
Two of Pentacles by Allison Parrish
Janaab-e Shikva by Anjuli Raza Kolb
The Body Politic by Hung Q. Tu
Anarchic Womb by Rose Zinnia
Thank You to Our Screeners!
The manuscripts submitted for this year’s poetry prize encompassed a full range of aesthetic approaches, structures, and themes. We need no further proof than this that literature today is thriving, dynamic, socially engaged, and politically aware. We are so grateful to all who submitted. It was thrilling to discover new voices.