Poetry as Resistance: Our Contest Issue Letter from the Poetry Editor

Dearest Readers,
 
We are thrilled to present our 2016 Tinderbox Poetry Prize finalists & winners. These twelve stunning poets ferried us into their worlds built of strength, resilience, pain, sometimes strangeness, sometimes healing, & always deeply felt truths.
 
Of Norma Liliana Valdez’s first-place poem “Tepoztlán Blues,” judge Eduardo C. Corral describes as “alive, jumpy, & brightly phrased.” We love how this poem sings its resistance—swallows it whole. Indeed, every single one of the poems in this Contest Issue came alive for us both in form & content, drawing us into mystery & holding us with surprising new ways of seeing & feeling.
 
This winter, many poets are taking to the streets in resistance. We stand in solidarity with these poets, & our Winter Contest Issue demonstrates what we have always known—poetry is resistance. For many of us, resistance is our daily way of life.
 
We are proud & honored to share these poems with you. May the individual truths these poets offer, their beautiful ways of seeing those sometimes harowing sometimes glorious worlds around them, offer us guidance & strength as we navigate & shape our own worlds.
 
Stay warm, friends.
 
All love & light on this darkest night of the year, made brighter for you poets and supporters of the arts existing in this world—
 
<3 Jenn (Poetry Editor)

Jenn Givhan, a National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices fellow, is a Mexican-American writer and activist from the Southwestern desert. She is the author of four full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Headless Mama (2015 Pleiades Editors’ Prize), Protection Spell (2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series edited by Billy Collins), Girl with Death Mask (2017 Blue Light Books Prize chosen by Ross Gay), and Rosa's Einstein (Camino Del Sol Poetry Series, forthcoming 2019). Her two novels, Trinity Sight and Jubilee, are forthcoming from Blackstone Press. Her honors include the Frost Place Latinx Scholarship, a National Latinx Writers’ Conference Scholarship, the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize chosen by Monica Youn, the Pinch Poetry Prize chosen by Ada Limón, and ten Pushcart nominations. Her work has appeared in Best of the Net, Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ploughshares, POETRY, TriQuarterly, Boston Review, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Witness, Southern Humanities Review, Missouri Review, and The Kenyon Review, among many others. Givhan holds a Master’s degree in English from California State University Fullerton and an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and she can be found discussing feminist motherhood at jennifergivhan.com as well as Facebook & Twitter @JennGivhan.