By Jefferson Beavers
The Fresno State Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing announced Pennsylvania author Maya Pindyck has won the 2021 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry book contest, which includes a $2,000 award and publication of her book, “Impossible Belonging.”
The Creative Writing Program sponsors the national prize, which honors Levine, the late poet and Fresno State professor emeritus. Levine won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, and he was the 2011 poet laureate of the United States.
The Levine Prize is awarded in partnership with Florida-based Anhinga Press, which has published poetry books since 1974.
Levine Prize final judge Carmen Giménez, an award-winning poet, publisher of Noemi Press and professor at Virginia Tech, chose Pindyck’s manuscript as the winner. There were 796 submissions. Giménez wrote of the winning entry:
“Maya Pindyck’s ‘Impossible Belonging’ is a collection of elemental folklore and yearning. Diaspora is a site rooted in the Anthropocene, and in the urgencies behind the embodiments that tell the stories we sometimes shake off to seek out our own paths as mothers, Americans, as artists and sisters.”
Giménez also noted three manuscripts as contest finalists:
- “Theophanies” by Sarah Ghazal Ali of Fremont.
- “The Book of Redacted Paintings” by Arthur Kayzakian of Burbank.
- “White Ford Bronco” by Michael Chang of Leonia, New Jersey.
Pindyck is the author of the poetry collections “Emoticoncert” (Four Way Books, 2016) and “Friend Among Stones” (New Rivers Press, 2009), and co-author of the forthcoming book “A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers” (Bloomsbury, 2022). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she has poems recently published or forthcoming in Pleiades, Granta Magazine’s Hebrew edition; Seneca Review; and Bennington Review.
Her visual, collaborative, and community-based work has been exhibited at the Milton Art Bank (Milton, Pennsylvania) and in New York City at the Art in Odd Places Public Festival, the Governors Island Art Fair and the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum. Pindyck lives in Philadelphia, where she is an assistant professor and director of writing at Moore College of Art & Design. She grew up in Boston and Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Philip Levine Prize for Poetry is an annual national book contest open to all poets, except current or former students or faculty of Fresno State. It is coordinated by assistant professor Mai Der Vang as part of the University’s English 242 graduate course, “Literary Editing and Publishing,” which provides students with hands-on professional experience in the publishing field. The contest offers a $2,000 prize plus publication and distribution by Anhinga Press, which has co-sponsored the contest since the prize’s inception in 2001.