Allison Adair Awarded Fall 2015 Orlando Poetry Prize

Allison Adair Awarded Fall 2015 Orlando Poetry Prize

Congratulations to Allison Adair on the selection of her poem, “Flight Theory” for the Fall 2015 Orlando Poetry Prize! “Flight Theory” will be published in Issue 19 of the Los Angeles Review.

“[FLIGHT THEORY] pulled me into the poet’s experience from the first two lines:
You turn off the lights this time/ and lie still, a body shifting from its country…

The writer grapples with the complexity of her experience by using language that is rough, raw, surprising, painful and difficult, but important. The poem is layered and full of imaginings, it places the reader right there in the moment. I felt like I was watching all the scenes unfold, even the scenes that were not completely clear to me. There are so many searing lines, these are among my favorites:
he slips into your wet speech,/ dismantles you quietly…
Organs are everywhere: on the workbench outside…
his black/ feathers stir…
you lose yourself under a loud human neck…
land/ disappearing like salt/ in a stirred glass…

The writer builds the images and follows them to one surprising, frightful, gorgeous conclusion.”
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Fall 2015 Orlando Poetry Finalist Judge

We asked Allison to talk about her poem and to tell us what publication means to her. She replied:
Allison Adair, Winner of 2015 Orlando Poetry Prize

Allison Adair, Winner of 2015 Orlando Poetry Prize

This poem reconstructs the shadowy personal history of my great-grandmother: she was only sixteen when her mother woke her one night, with no warning, ushered her out into the unlit road, and sent her off, alone, to America. About that night, my great-grandmother would say only that her stepfather had grown “too rough” since she had become a teenager. It was important to me to develop a form that might render the uncertainties about what my great-grandmother had experienced—to recreate the competing voices that crowd her story.
Though I’ve written my whole life, I began submitting work for publication only within the last year or so. Positive responses have done wonders for my confidence as a writer, and have encouraged me to experiment, to push harder, to ask more questions of myself as a poet and as a thinker. Publication reminds me that each poem has its audience: it’s part of my job to find that audience, and to serve it.






Allison Adair’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015, Boston Review, Mid-American Review, Missouri Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, the Boston Globe, and the anthology Hacks; hypertext projects appear on The Rumpus and Electric Literature. Winner of the 2014 Fineline Competition, Adair is on the English faculty at Boston College and teaches poetry workshops at Grub Street.

Author: A Room of Her Own

Share This Post On