And the Winners Are . . . Cave Canem Poetry Prize & Cave Canem Northwestern U. Press Poetry Prize

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Graham, Natalie c- Cynthia A. BrianoCave Canem is pleased to announce that Kwame Dawes has selected Natalie J. Graham’s manuscript, Begin with a Failed Body, for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Natalie will receive $1,000, publication by The University of Georgia Press in fall 2017, complimentary copies of the book, and a feature reading in New York City.

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Natalie earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida and completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, New England Review, Valley Voices: A Literary Review and Southern Humanities Review; and her articles are forthcoming in The Journal of Popular Culture and Transition. She is a Cave Canem fellow and assistant professor of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton.

Honorable Mentions:

Comer, Nandi - 2016Nandi Comer for Tapping Out. Nandi Comer has received fellowships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Cave Canem, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for the Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project (Wayne State University Press, 2014), Detroit Anthology (Rust Belt Chic Press, 2014), Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Green Mountains Review, Pluck!, Prairie Schooner and Southern Indiana Review. In 2016, she was awarded the fourth Write A House Permanent Residency in Detroit.


Richardson, HeidiHeidi Richardson for In Praise of the Black Narcissus.  Originally from San Francisco, Heidi Richardson is a recent graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, where she earned her BA in Creative Writing. Her poetry has appeared in Ghost Town Literary Magazine and The Pacific Review. In 2014, she received a Pushcart Prize nomination for her civil-rights era poem “The Waiting Room.” She has recipient of the Edgar Valdez Writing Prize for both poetry and fiction.

Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize

Swearingen-Steadwell, LauraCave Canem and Northwestern University Press congratulate Laura Swearingen-Steadwell on receiving the 2016 prize for her second book of poems, All Blue So Late: A Collection of Poems, selected by Parneshia Jones and Jacqueline Jones LaMon. Laura will receive $1,000, publication by Northwestern University Press in 2017, and 15 copies of the book.

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell is a writer, editor and performer living in Bushwick, NY. She is a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers and the author of How to Seduce a White Boy in Ten Easy Steps, a book of poems.

Honorable Mention:

Flood, Reginald - 2016Reginald Flood for I Hear Em Say War Is Still Going On In the World. A native of south central Los Angeles, Reginald Flood lives with his family in a small town in southeastern Connecticut. His first collection of poetry, Coffle, was published by Willow Books in 2012.  He is an associate professor of English and Coordinator of African American Studies at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he teaches African American literature and creative writing. Reginald was awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry and a National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Fellowship to attend “Don’t Deny My Voice: Reading and Teaching African American Poetry at the University of Kansas.