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PSV North American Poetry Book Award Winners

For contest guidelines and submission forms for the 2024-2025 NAPBA, check our site again in October.


"Next to being a poet, there is nothing more gratifying for me than taking on the role of mentor and editor. To read a poem and be so moved that one needs to find a reader for it is one of the most rewarding experiences a lover of poetry can have."

~Sofia M. Starnes, NAPBA Chair

2024 Final Judge

Lisa Russ Spaar, professor of English and Interim Director of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Spaar is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently Paradise Close (Persea Book, 2022). Her poem, “Temple Gaudete”, published in Image, won a 2016 Pushcart Prize. Among her many awards is the Horace W. Goldsmith NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship at the University of Virginia, 2016-2018.


WINNER of the

2024 PSV North American Poetry Book Award

The Corrected Version by Young Oh, cover.jpg

Lisa Russ Spaar, PSV North American Poetry Book Award final judge, on Rosanna Young Oh's The Corrected Version:  


“The spine of this remarkable debut collection is a series of poems about a speaker’s immigrant family and a childhood spent as the daughter of a Korean-born grocer who himself values reading and once wrote poems, but who now pours his lifeblood into keeping his store open 24/4 in the new world of America in which he has transplanted his family. 


In poems by turn intergenerational, mythic, historical, personal, and ekphrastic, The Corrected Version offers the reader a revised look at an experience of immigrant life that is often misunderstood or oversimplified. In the opening poem, ‘Homework,’ a sonnet, a girl is praised by her teacher for writing with fresh detail about her home life and is encouraged to share her work with her classmates. When she does so, a boy’s cruel laugh ‘cuts me through,’ and the speaker wonders ‘Should I pretend my stories aren’t true?’ This book’s sensory, unflinching, gorgeously restrained poems offer the poet’s bold answer to this question."


Rosanna Young Oh, winning author 2024_ed

About the 2024 winning author:

Rosanna Young Oh is a Korean American writer born in Daejeon, Kore. She grew up on Long Island. Her work has appeared or been featured in LitHub, The Slowdown, Best New Poets, Harvard Review Online, The Hopkins Review, and 32 Poems. Rosanna's work also has received support from the Vermont Studio Center, the Hudson Valley Writers Center, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and New York State Writers Institute. Her poetry was also the subject of a solo exhibition at the Queens Historical Society, where she was an artist-in-residence. A graduate of Yale (B.A.), the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins (MFA), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (MA), she lives and writes in New York. Her first book, The Corrected Version, was also a winner of the Diode Editions Book Prize.


In ‘The Gift,’ a crass customer offers the father rotted mangos: ‘Give this garbage to your children.’ In the back of the store, the father ‘punch[es] a hole into a cantaloupe / instead of my mother,’ insisting ‘It’s not a gift,’ while the girl speaker holds her copy of ‘Jane Eyre close’ and her two brothers ‘[impale] moldy oranges / on Ticonderoga pencils.’  Later, the speaker will find her father gorging on the blighted mangos because ‘nothing went to waste in our store.’


2024 NAPBA Finalists

Suzanne Manizza Roszak.jpg

First Finalist

Sicilianas, book. first finalist, Roszak.jpg
Dark Beds, book, second finalist, Whitney (1).jpg

Second Finalist

Diana Whitney.jpg

“This inaugural collection is haunted by a host of twentieth-century Sicilian immigrants, mostly women, whose experiences, stories, and histories are given voice...In the title poem, the speaker says, ‘Today I’ve been in the mood for telling other people’s stories.’  And tell she does, in poems both evocative and mysterious. And yet the poems are not just about the globally dispersed lives of others; as she sings for those who often did not have a voice, she also comes to better know herself..." --Lisa Russ Spaar, NAPBA Final Judge 2024

“Whitney’s rich, sensual, formally deft and often erotic poems of transgression and fidelity in realms domestic and beyond remind us that there is always a place in the Zeitgeist for the lyric poem of interiority and beauty. Whether delivering snacks to hungry first-graders and then rushing home to vacuum glow-in-the dark stars from the Berber carpet or swooning over ‘rapture without consequence,’ this is a speaker who turns again and again to the natural world for its lessons of indifference and transformation..." --Lisa Russ Spaar, NAPBA Final Judge 2024

Something So Good It Can Never Be Enough
by Shuly Xóchitl Cawood
Press 53

2024 NAPBA Semi-finalists

Below Zero
by Carol V. Davis
Stephen F. Austin State University Press

​The Long Journey Out
by Ronald Okuaki Lieber
Resource Publications

The Disordered Alphabet
by Cintia Santana
Four Way Books

The Boneheap in the Lion’s Den
by Maya J. Sorini
Press 53

Local Congregation
by Phillip Sterling
Main Street Rag Publishing Company

Heaven Underfoot
by Diana Woodcock
Codhill Press

WINNER of the

2023 PSV North American Poetry Book Award

Heartbreak Tree by Pauletta Hansel

Heartbreak-Tree cover (Pauletta Hansel).jpg

Bill Glose, PSV North American Poetry Book Award final judge, praised Pauletta Hansel’s winning collection as follows:  


“Even before we open this book, the title warns what lies within will be bittersweet, its Heartbreak Tree rooted in ground seeded with regret and unfulfilled desires (When hurt is all that’s handed down / you learn to claim it). Yet, these poems also luxuriate in the comforts and personal connections that only home can offer, “the unseen river that silvers / through our dreams.”


The early poems serve as a captivating reminiscence that transports the reader to hardscrabble life in rural Kentucky (What people in town remember about my family’s home / was the dirt in the fenced front yard where no grass / could stay grown). But as the book progresses, the poems settle into middle-aged reckoning and acceptance, often told via letters the author writes to her 15-year-old self (If we are skin, you are peeled bark of sycamore long gone from / me. If we are bone, you are always mine).

Pauletta Hansel reading from the winning collection at the 2023 PSV Centennial Festival.

Pauletta Hansel delivers a rust-edged nostalgia that portrays both a life of wistful yearnings and an acceptance of limitations, an ever-present dichotomy that leaves her examining most things from multiple angles (What moves us onward is the same, / sometimes, as what breaks us to the ground). The skill with which she traverses this seeming contradiction makes this captivating collection a must read.”

About the 2023 winning author:

Pauletta Hansel, poet, memoirist, teacher, is the author of nine poetry collections including her winning book Heartbreak Tree, released in March 2022 by Madville Publishing. She was the 2022 Writer-in-Residence for the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library and served as the first Poet Laureate of Cincinnati, 2016-2018. Pauletta also served as Writer-in-Residence at Thomas More College’s Creative Writing Vision Program and at WordPlay, a literary and literacy organization for young writers. Pauletta’s poetry collections include Friend, Coal Town Photograph, Tangle, and Palindrome, issued by Dos Madres Press. Palindrome was awarded the Weatherford Award for the Best Appalachian Poetry Book of 2017. Her poetry and prose have been featured in numerous journals and anthologies, among them Oxford American, One (Jacar Press), New Verse News, Rattle, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Northern Appalachian Review, Heartwood Literary Magazine, Main Street Rag, Atlanta Review, A Gathering at the Forks; Old Wounds, New Words; A Kentucky Christmas; and Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia. Her poems also have appeared on The Writer’s Almanac, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and Verse Daily.  Pauletta received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte (North Carolina). Originally from southeastern Kentucky, with family roots in southwestern Virginia, she lives in Cincinnati with her husband, Owen Cramer.


2023 NAPBA Finalists

First Finalist

“Beautiful, evocative, mournful, Suzanne Edison’s poetry plumbs the depths of personal grief. In verse that often plays with form on the page, where much can be inferred from the white space between words, these poems stretch beyond their lines and entice readers to return for a second reading to glean deeper meanings.” --Bill Glose, NAPBA Final Judge

Since the House is Burning Suzanne Edison.jpg

Second Finalist

“These plain-spoken poems present a love song to life and all its daily miracles, often reveling in the splendor of the natural world. There are lamentations here, too, but the overall sense one gets from reading Kim Ports Parsons’ luminous collection is that the world is full of hope if only we open our minds to the possibility." --Bill Glose, NAPBA Final Judge

House in Need of Mooring
by Libby Bernardin
Press 53

2023 NAPBA

White Bull
by Elizabeth Hughey
Sarabande Books

Bodies of Time and Space
by Glen A. Mazis
Kelsay Books

Dear If
by Mary B. Moore
Orison Books

Door to Remain
by Austin Segrest
Univ. of North Texas Press

Monologue of Fire
by Samuel Ugbechie
New Rivers Press

WINNER of the

2022 North American Poetry Book Award


Boneyarn by David Mills


“David Mills’ book, Boneyarn (The Ashland Poetry Press) is a compilation of masterful, well-researched poems that, in the author’s words, stand ‘in remembrance of the 15,000 unnamed enslaved and free blacks, indentured whites, and Native Americans interred in New York City’s Negro Burial Ground, America’s oldest and largest slave cemetery: 1712 – 1795.’ (Today, the cemetery is known as the African Burial Ground.)


At times, in this collection, Mills enters a speaker’s body and soul by focusing on the intense pain endured. The highlighted figures range from an enslaved cook to an indentured teen, employed as a chimney sweep apprentice.


The author’s command of the persona poem is exceptional. Like the work of such notable poets as Ai and Robert Browning, Mills’ monologues are ingenious and profound. (…)


Collectively, the poems in Boneyarn enlighten the reader’s awareness of a soul-stirring historical time that should never be forgotten.” ~Dr. Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Final Judge, Virginia Poet Laureate, Emerita, 2006-2008


About the 2022 winning author:

David Mills holds a BA (cum laude) from Yale University, an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and an MA from New York University. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The American Antiquarian Society, The Queens Council on the Arts, and many other organizations. He has recorded his poetry for ESPN and RCA Records, and he lived in the landmark Harlem home of Langston Hughes for three years. His work has been widely published in such journals as Ploughshares, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Main Street Rag and Jubilat, and his previous books are The Sudden Country, The Dream Detective, and After Mistic. He wrote the audio script for MacArthur-Genius-Award Winner Deborah Willis’ curated exhibition: Reflections in Black:100 Years of Black Photography, which showed at the Whitney and Getty West Museums.


2022 NAPBA Finalists and Semi-finalists

First Finalist

A Fine Yellow Dust

By Laura Apol

(Michigan State University Press)


Second Finalist

Anything That Happens

By Cheryl Wilder

(Press 53)


Semi-finalists (in alphabetical order, by author)

Wasteland Honey by Robert Clinton (Circling Rivers Press, 2021)
At the Bottom of the Year by David Craig (Angelico Press, 2021)
Sweetgum & Lightning by Rodney Terich Leonard (Four Way Books, 2021)
Dolls by Claire Millikin (2Leaf Press, 2021)
Flying Yellow by Suzanne Rhodes (Paraclete Press, 2021)
Somewhere to Follow by Paul Willis (Slant Books, 2021)

WINNER of the 2021 Poetry Society of Virginia

North American Book Award

Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo


“It’s become almost commonplace to hear poems praised for their courage, unflinchingness, or steady gaze—perhaps indicating that such works give words to what others are unwilling or unable to say, that somehow they have steeled themselves in order not to look away.


But the poems in John Murillo’s Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry are some of the most powerful I’ve encountered, precisely because of how the poet offers his own vulnerabilities of seeing and feeling: “What/ I want, I’m not supposed to.”


Into our urban landscapes afire with violence and lamentation, he presses steadily forward toward each flailing, and asks us: Stay with me now.” ~Luisa A. Igloria, Final Judge, Virginia Poet Laureate, 2020-2022.


About the 2021 winning author:  

John Murillo is the author of Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books 2020), winner of the 2021 Poetry Society of Virginia North American Book Award. His honors include a Pushcart Prize, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. He is an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.


2021 Finalists


2021 Semi-finalists

(alphabetical by author)


by Dan Beachy-Quick

(Tupelo Press)


by Lauren Camp

(Tupelo Press)


by John Martin Finlay

(Wiseblood Press)



by Stephen Benz

(Main Street Rag)


by Meg Eden

(Press 53)


by Sarah M. Sala

(Tolsun Books)

by Lauren Shapiro

(Cleveland State University Poetry Center)

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