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Shenandoah Announces Winner of 2016 Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets

Jess Quinlan of Staunton, Virginia, is the winner of the annual Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets offered by Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review for the best poem entered by a Virginia poet.

She will receive a cash award of $500, and her poem “Wahunsenacawh” will appear on the Shenandoah website  as part of the fall 2016 issue.

Quinlan’s poem looks back at a moment in early Virginia history when Native American chieftain Powhatan prepares to leave his accustomed homeland and travel westward towards his death.

She is an M.F.A. graduate of Hollins University and works as a technical writer. She is also an advisory editor for The James Dickey Review.

Mary Crockett Hill was selected as runner-up for her poem “Memento Mori,” which addresses various methods of preserving the memory of loved ones who have died. Hill is the author of two books, including “A Theory of Everything” (Autumn House).

The contest was judged by Mark Sanders who is the professor and chair of the English Department at Stephen F. Austin State University. He is the author of seven books including “Conditions of Grace: New and Selected Poems” (2012) and “Landscapes, with Horses” (poetry, 2013).

Previous winners of the prize include Elizabeth Murawski, Judith McCombs, Nancy Schoenberger and Juliana Daugherty. The judge for the next prize will be revealed after the results have been announced. No members of the Washington and Lee Community or their immediate families are eligible.

The Graybeal-Gowen Prize is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Priscilla Gowen Graybeal’s father, Howerton Gowen, W&L ’30, a lifelong lover of poetry.  The prize is donated by Mrs. Graybeal and her husband James (W&L ’49).

Submissions to the annual Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets are welcomed from all writers born in Virginia, as well as those with current legal residency of a year or more. No entry fee is required. Poets may enter as many as three poems of no more than 50 lines each and should send submissions between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15, 2016, through the submissions link on Shenandoah’s website to the submittable page and a platform with specific instructions for downloading Graybeal-Gowen entries. For more information, contact R. T. Smith at (540) 458-8908 or rodsmith@wlu.edu.