"Ice Hours" Wins 2021 Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize (Established)

January 26, 2022

Congratulations to Marion Starling Boyerwhose manuscript Ice Hours was selected by final judge Carol V. Davis as the winner of the 2021 Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize (Established). Boyer will receive a $1,000 prize and Ice Hours will be published in 2023 by MSU Press.

"Marion Boyer’s Ice Hours is mesmerizing and haunting," writes final judge Carol V. Davis. "At its core is the question, what motivates people to want to be a part of something whose success seems impossible? This is acknowledged even in the recruitment of crew, offering, 'Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful.' The book follows the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, whose goal was to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent. Poems explore the flora and fauna, crew and families, the challenges, failures and triumphs. It traces this journey from Antarctica where, 'Pink-golden mists of pollen wafted across/ deep valleys' to a winter freeze that sends, 'Violent wind, black waves roiling.' Boyer’s precise language dazzles in portraits of historical figures, letters to a fiancé back in England, and descriptions of brutal weather, the sea, boats, animals, and people. There may be no answer to the central question of Ice Hours, but the reader is riveted by the vision and obsession that sparked this historic expedition."

Finalists for this eleventh round are Boneyard Heresies by Tina Schumann, Kindling by Christine Rhein, Lastness by Jed Myers, and Man-Moth & the Gospel of Possibility by Donald Levering.