Announcing Nightboat’s 2023 Poetry Prize Winners!

Announcing the Winners of the Nightboat Poetry Prize!

This year we received over 950 submissions to our annual poetry prize. We are excited to announce that the Nightboat editors have chosen three manuscripts for publication in 2025 and 2026! Read more about each of the prize-winning manuscripts, and find a list of our finalists below.

The winners of the 2023 Nightboat Poetry Prize are:

B-Dragon Suite by Stine An

Perennial Counterpart by Yongyu Chen

Monk Fruit by Edward Salem

Congratulations to our winners! Read more about each of the prize-winning manuscripts, and find a list of our finalists below.

B-Dragon Suite by Stine An

“In Stine An’s radical debut, translation isn’t a one-directional or objective operation. Rather, it’s a swell of embodied, multidimensional play; a cluster of dramatized, yet unmasked utterances. When lips smack together to sound 비 (bi), a squeaky toy hammer hits its target, a tombstone rises, an umbrella emoji invokes the fluidity of rain. In B-Dragon Suite’s seven inventive sections, fabulated K-Pop boy band LIL BANG sings its way through linguistic warp, the industry’s soft nationalist power and fandom’s surreal, transformative potential. Lyric poems dart around them, springily tender, while prose meditations codeswitch between structures of immigrant feeling and a vertiginous landscape of Southern childhood malaise. Constellated around sound, image, and the unutterable potholes of language, these poems wink, fresh and tenacious from the substrate of colonial history.” —Emily Bark Brown & Trisha Low

Stine An (안수연) is a poet, literary translator, and performer based in New York City whose interdisciplinary work explores diasporic poetics, experimental translation, K-pop, and virtual performance. Her poetry and translations have appeared in FENCE, Second Factory, Electric Literature, BWR, The Southern Review, BAX 2018, Best Literary Translations 2024, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a BA in Literature from Harvard College and is the recipient of fellowships and grants from The Poetry Project, the American Literary Translators Association, PEN America, the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Perennial Counterpart by Yongyu Chen

“Divided into summer and winter, Perennial Counterpart converses with a vast constellation of friends, lovers, and writers—from Fred Moten to Marguerite Duras to Georges Bataille—to explore the role of reading and writing in fostering intimacy. Stretching the unit of the line towards its limit, suspended between lyric and prose, Yongyu Chen develops a poetics of friendship as the utmost “experiment in living.” We’re fortunate to be invited into their queer study, where every line becomes a hopeful tether to each other and the world.” —Santiago Valencia

Yongyu Chen is a poet. Their poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Lana Turner, Poetry, and The White Review, among other publications. Currently they are working on a PhD in Film & Visual Studies at Harvard where they study & write about photography, friendship, & queer approaches to the image. They live in Cambridge, MA, near the river.

Monk Fruit by Edward Salem

“With each poem in his first full-length collection, Monk Fruit, Edward Salem reveals, then expands worlds. From Detroit to Gaza, the Big Bang to whatever calamity comes next, he reports from far ahead of the curve, beyond the current cosmic crunch with wry humor and incisive critique. As Salem’s lines accrue and turn, thoughts twist along their length in a series of sleight of hand gestures, unfolding a deeply lived-in political and aesthetic consciousness, one that knows consensus reality is a boring myth and absurdity beats out piety for lasting impact every time. With rare skill and generosity, Salem by-passes ideology, finds a side door, and rearranges the furniture.” —Lindsey Boldt

Edward Salem is a recipient of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Prize and a Kresge Artist Fellowship. The winner of the BOMB Magazine Fiction Contest, selected by Ottessa Moshfegh, his writing appears or is forthcoming in Poetry, Narrative, The Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner, Image, Poet Lore, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Columbia Review, Best Debut Short Stories and elsewhere. He is the co-founder of City of Asylum/Detroit, a nonprofit that provides safe-haven fellowships to writers and artists who are in exile under threat of persecution.

Congratulations to our Finalists!

My Ears or a Field of Ears by Samuel Ace and Maureen Seaton
The Dead One, The Unconscious One, Thundering in the Ear, Thriving Slumber by Jay Gao
within-group variance by Leslie McIntosh
Murmuration Archives by Felicia Zamora

Thank you to our Screeners!

Kimberly Alidio
Emily Bark Brown
Chia-Lun Chang
Reginald Harris
Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta
imogen xtian smith

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.