poetry collections...

August 7, 2009

2009 Poetry Book Prize Winners

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2009 poetry book prizes.

Guest Judge Denise Duhamel, the 2009 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Western Kentucky University, selected Money for Sunsets by Elizabeth J. Colen as winner of the Judge’s Prize.  In her judge’s citation, which will serve as a foreword for the book, Duhamel had the following to say about Colen’s haunting sequence of prose poems:  “If I were Colen’s agent, I’d pitch these poems to a movie producer as “David Lynch meets Gertrude Stein.”  Money for Sunsets, like Tender Buttons, is syntactically rich and varied, using fragments, repetition, and word association.  If I were Colen’s agent, I might not mention her complicated and smart observations on women, violence, and money – since I’m assuming that most movie producers are capitalists. . . . Innovative and evocative, these poems have arrived at just the right cultural moment.  And I, for one, am grateful they’re here.”

Tom C. Hunley, Director of Steel Toe Books, has selected Zephyr by Susan Browne as winner of the Editor’s Prize.  Browne’s poems have both heart and smarts, both gravitas and a sense of humor.  Here is a short poem from Zephyr which we read as an ars poetica as well as an example of Browne’s keen, compassionate eye:

A Robin with Ragged Wings

perches on the edge of the roof, chirping feebly
to the sky, his head turned at an odd angle
as if his neck is broken, and some of his feathers
look like the cat tried to saw them off
with her claws.  He’s about to die any second,
but he doesn’t stop his song,
reminding me of the many on earth who ask
and never receive.  I stand by the window,
wondering how can I help, searching the apple
tree for his buddies to come save him.
I go outside for a closer look.  He’s gone.
The yard is weirdly quiet without
that wretched singing.

Money for Sunsets and Zephyr edged out these finalists: 
Smiles of the Unstoppable by Jason Bredle
Death Obscura by Rick Bursky
My Body, Torn from Me by Anna Evans
American Busboy by Matthew Guenette
by Greg McBride
Disappearing Address by Simone Muench and Philip Jenks
Cannoli Gangster by Joey Nicoletti
Nothing Fatal by Sarah Perrier
What Remains, Persists by Doris Umbers
The Four Horsemen of a Disappointing Apocalypse by Gabriel Welsch


Each of the 185 poets who entered the contest will receive copies of both Money for Sunsets and Zephyr as soon as the two books are released (September 2010 is the target date for both).


For more information, contact Tom C. Hunley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


For more information about Steel Toe Books, visit www.steeltoebooks.com

October 30, 2017

We are pleased to announce Steel Toe Books' most recent release, Street Calligraphy by Jim Daniels. Steel Toe Books acquired this title for publication in 2016.

Jim Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English at Caregie Mellon University, where he has been teaching creative writing since 1981. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry as well as numerous short stories and screenplays and the editor of multiple anthologies of poetry. His work has been featured in The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, Poetry 180 with Billy Collins, and the American Life in Poetry series.

Street Calligraphy is, as poet Afaa M. Weaver says, "an honest and well-honed collection that will bring light to the lives it celebrates, our own." Aimee Nezhukumatathil calls these poems "moving and unflinching poems--brutal and brave." Daniels, a Detroit native, explores the city of the American Midwest, its concrete, factories, and graffiti: nostalgic, but not sentimental. "We never saw stars/above Detroit," he writes, "so why even look up?"

Street Calligraphy, will be available for purchase November 1, 2017, through Steel Toe Books (place an order here) and Amazon. For more information about Street Calligraphy or other Steel Toe releases, please view our titles here.

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