A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent by Gregory Mahrer
POL Prize, selected by John Yau
Gregory Mahrer's work has been published in The New England Review, The Indiana Review, Green Mountains Review, Volt, Colorado Review, Hayden's Ferry Review and elsewhere, as well as on the web sites Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Several of his poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. In 2014 one of those poems, "Refrain," received a Puschart Special Mention. He lives and works in rural Northern California and Baja California Sur, Mexico.
With high-wire imagination and hybrid language, A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent surveys a world post-catastrophic, elasticized, semi-mythic yet founded in the real. Scribbling clerks, horse carts, and confectioners coincide with glass towers, climate-caused sea rise, and species extinction. In this book, makings and fracturings become part of one gesture. Gregory Mahrer’s continually burning city consumes, it seems, all futures, all lives, and the ember at the center of virtually every sentence is an irreversible, prophetic, and utterly accurate grief.
Let me say quite simply that Gregory Mahrer is the most dazzling poetic cartographer since Italo Calvino and Raymond Roussel, and Mahrer’s exquisite explorations of the imagination carry with them the same remarkable riches and glorious thirsts that we find in those great writers. Conceptually brilliant and relentlessly inventive, Greg Mahrer teaches us the many ways every map is made of language, and that geology, geography, and history must all be understood as deeply human psalms. In this astonishing new collection, there is only one direction left to the poet—beyond the page’s horizon.
—David St. John
The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone by Nancy K. Pearson
POL Editor's Prize, selected by Elisabeth Frost
Nancy K. Pearson’s first book of poems, Two Minutes of Light (Perugia Press, 2008), won a 2009 L.L. Winship/ PEN New England Award and was a 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read Book.” Her work has been published in The Iowa Review, Oberon Poetry Magazine, and Alaska Quarterly Review among other publications. Winner of the 2014-2015 Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Poetry and Pushcart Prize nominee, Pearson has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University and is currently an Instructor at the University of Houston.
Not only one poem but the whole of Nancy K. Pearson’s breathtaking second book, The Whole By Contemplation of a Single Bone, presses the question “Do you understand the urgency?” Urgency hums through this collection like current through an electric fence. Another poem laments, “I wish I had stuck to the old story,” but these poems are too restless for that, insisting instead on singing the song that is “like two yellow eyes in a drainage ditch / where someone lonely feeds an alligator.”
—H. L. Hix
"Nancy Pearson’s The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone is so wondrous and happily strange that I had to take breaks in my reading of it to make sure that everything I thought I knew was still the way I remembered it. In language completely of her own making, Pearson looks deeply into the natural world, the animal world and the worlds of literature and popular culture in new and unsettling ways. This is, in the best way, a book about what it means to be surprised."