Derek Sheffield wins Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize

February 24, 2020

Congratulations to Derek Sheffield, whose manuscript Not for Luck was selected by judge Mark Doty as winner of the 2019 Wheelbarrow Books (Established) Poetry Prize. Sheffield will receive a $1,000 prize, and Not for Luck will be published by MSU Press in 2021.

“In Not for Luck, Derek Sheffield achieves something of inestimable value: a trustworthy, convincing voice,” writes judge Mark Doty.  “A voice, of course, is something we have, but getting it onto the page is another matter entirely. We don’t speak in the compressed mode of lyric poetry, even of a colloquial kind, and yet there’s something deeply affecting about a poetic voice that sounds effortless, and captures something essential about a speaker. It allows us, over the course of a book of poems, to feel that we’ve met someone in particular. Not for Luck introduces us to a father, a friend, a son, a man deeply embedded in family and community, which is also to say he is a citizen of time, and attentive to passages, growth and change.”

Finalists for this round are A Case for Solace by Liz Ahl, Inventory of the Winter Palace by Chris Forhan, In Our Beautiful Bones by Zilka Joseph, and Some Girls by Alison Luterman.

Not for Luck will be the seventh title published under the Wheelbarrow Books imprint.

Established in 2016, Wheelbarrow Books is an imprint of the RCAH Center for Poetry at MSU, with publication and distribution by the MSU Press. The Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize is awarded to one emerging and one established poet annually.

Full announcement here.