Friday, August 30, 2013

Eric Linsker of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Alexandria Peary of Londonderry, N.H., have been named 2013 recipients of the prestigious Iowa Poetry Prize. Linsker's collection, La Far, and Peary's collection, Control Bird Alt Delete, will both be published in March 2014 by the University of Iowa Press. This year's judge was Emily Wilson.

Linsker's La Far tracks its passage through a technophilic pastoral, where work and play are both forms of making others suffer in order to exist. La Far's world is faraway yet near, a hell conveniently elsewhere in which workers bundle Foxconn's "rare earths" into the "frosty kits" to formulate our content, but at the same time the sea meets the land as it always has. These poems hope that by making the abstract concrete and the concrete abstract, "literalizing/a nightingale beyond/knowledge," we might construct what Wordsworth called a "Common Day," a communized life absorbed by all.

Linsker holds degrees from Harvard, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Teachers College. His poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, The Arcadia Project, Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, and Lana Turner. He lives in Brooklyn, where he coedits The Claudius App with Jeff Nagy.

In Control Bird Alt Delete, Peary invites the reader to explore strange landscapes: some based on the ruins of New England and others following the architectural prints of the unconscious. Nature intrudes in unexpected ways on domestic settings while domestic and industrial settings appear in bits inside the pastoral. Birds, one-dimensional but strangely wise, flit back and forth and rebelliously tape up their songs. The senses are thoroughly blended, leading to strange combinations and sensory experiences, to states of mindfulness and blizzard distraction. All the while, the unconscious threatens to intrude with its underlined places, its trap doors inside ordinary conversations, the mazes it hangs up like welcome-home banners next to people's mouths while they speak. The reader follows the first-person "I" through mazes, office spaces, and coils of highway traffic, hoping for some redemption, some sort of answer to all the deletion.

Peary is the author of two books of poetry, Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers (2008) and Lid to the Shadow (2010). The latter was selected for the 2010 Slope Editions Book Prize. Her work has also received the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Mudfish Poetry Prize and has appeared in Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, The Gettysburg Review, jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Fence, Crazyhorse, Spoon River Review, Verse, Literary Imagination, and Pleiades. She is an associate professor and the first-year writing coordinator in the English department at Salem State University.