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)