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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems

Previous Winners


Selected by Gary Copeland Lilley

WHAT IT DONE TO US   •   Essy Stone

What it Done to Us, by Essy Stone, is a poetry of narrative tension, sense of place, and with a wide-angle scan of lyrical language. There is a landscape here, the depiction of Appalachia, a beautiful backdrop of loves and struggles with violence, poverty and all its minions such as drugs and crime, and its religion. Stone has created a southern gothic for today . . . a testament, a collection that could be the mythology that we find at the intersection of flesh and spirit, or maybe it’s the reveal to a hard-times question like, “Why does the Devil get here faster than God every time?” This is a tough community that Stone, with a deft touch of empathy and eloquence, shows us, and we begin to know these folk. These poems are understated but highly charged vignettes from the hollers, a shadow world of the embattled folk who bear up and just do what needs done without apology. This is a stunning debut collection, and it is our introduction to an amazing poet, Essy Stone.

—Gary Copeland Lilley


Essy Stone recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University. She received an MFA from the University of Miami, but spent most of her life as a waitress in East Tennessee. Her poetry has been published in Prairie Schooner, 32 Poems, and is forthcoming in The New Yorker.



A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees by Kendra Tanacea
Sungrazer by James Crews
The Moon Never Ages by Casey Charles
Ode to the Earth in Translation by George Looney
The Fire Academy by Dana Roeser
Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining by Mark Wagenaar
[ganbatte] by Sarah Kortemeier
White Birds by John Clarke
Sad Atlas by Bradley Harrison
Same Water Flowing by Judith Small
Talking to Yourself Is Fine by Sally Davidoff
The Infinity Room by Gary Fincke
Habitat Group by Dave Snyder

LOST HORSE PRESS thanks all the poets who submitted their work to The Idaho Prize for Poetry 2016; we appreciate our First Readers for their keen reading skills; a hearty thanks to Gary Copeland Lilley, Final Judge, for his insightful choice; and, most of all, huge congratulations to Essy Stone, winner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2016.



Selected by Kim Addonizio

FUGITIVES     Danielle Pieratti

Danielle Pieratti’s poems have recently appeared in Sixth Finch, Yemassee, and Barn Owl Review. She is the author of two chapbooks, By the Dogstar (Sarasota Poetry Theatre Press, 2005) and The Post, the Cage, the Palisade (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). She teaches English in Connecticut.


The Idaho Prize 2015 FINALISTS

  • LONGHAND     Brian Culhane     Seattle, WA
  • THIS IS ALL I CAN TELL YOU     David J.S. Pickering     Portland, OR
  • INLAND  SEA     Debra Nystrom   Charlottesville, VA
  • FALSETTO     Robert Stephens     Tallahassee, FL
  • [TAXONOMIES / SOMETHING OPENED]     Samantha Deal     Kalamazoo, MI
  • YA TE VEO     P. Scott Cunningham     Miami, FL
  • AFTER     Robert Gibb     Homestead, PA
  • somebody, maybe     Sally Cox     Hubbard, OR
  • INVENTORY     Landon Godfrey     Black Mountain, NC

LOST HORSE PRESS would like to thank all entrants to the Idaho Prize 2015; our first readers for their keen reading skills; Kim Addonizio, final judge for her astute choice; and, most of all, congratulations to Danielle Pieratti, winner of the Idaho Prize 2015.

Winner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2014


2014 is the ten-year anniversary of the Idaho Prize for Poetry!

The winner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2014 is Jeff Baker of Charlottesville, VA with his manuscript WHOOP AND SHUSH. Runner up is Paul Martin of Allentown, PA with his manuscript entitled RIVER SCAR.

The winner is being announced a full month ahead of schedule this year, thanks to our expeditious final judge Dorianne Laux, and first readers, Katie Pfalzgraff and Jackson Holbert. Congratulations to Jeff Baker, Paul Martin, all the finalists. A hearty thanks to final judge Dorianne Laux, our astute first readers, and to all who submitted their manuscripts to the Idaho Prize for Poetry. Write on!


  • 88 Maps by Robert Carney
  • Our Hero: Artless Comix by Maura Stanton
  • [ganbatte]: Poems by Sarah Kortemeier
  • After the Three-Moon Era by Gary Fincke
  • Of Dust by Andrew Grace
  • To Hills by Haesong Kwon
  • East & West by Piotr Florcyzk
  • Animal by Michelle Burke
  • Meditations Before the Windows Fail by George Looney
  • Orpheus, Turning by Faith Shearin
  • We All Breathe the Same Sky by Donna Davis
  • Just Desserts by Michelle F. Cooper

About Jeff Baker

Jeff Baker grew up in Smokey Branch, Tennessee. He earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1999. Recently, his poems have appeared in Cutbank, Fascicle, American Letters & Commentary, and The Southeast Review. He lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Winner of 2013 Idaho Prize for Poetry


The winner of the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2013—selected by final judge, Sam Hamill—isThe Gold Shop of Ba-‘Ali by Yahya Frederickson of Moorhead, Minnesota. He will receive $1000 plus publication by Lost Horse Press. The Gold Shop of Ba-‘Ali will be released in Spring 2014. 

The Gold Shop of Ba-‘Ali delivers us into an Arabic world stripped of exoticism, a world made palpable by mundane reality, an ordinary world made luminous by the vision and speech of a genuinely gifted poet.

—Sam Hamill

Yahya Frederickson received a BA in The Individual and Society from Minnesota State University Moorhead, an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Montana, and his PhD in English from the University of North Dakota. Dr. Frederickson spent much of the decade between graduate degrees in Sana’a, Yemen, where he taught English as a Foreign Language, composition, and poetry. His areas of specialization include poetry, Middle Eastern literature, cross-cultural contact literature, and Henry David Thoreau. A lover of international travel, he has visited Canada, Ethiopia, Greece, Mexico, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to Yemen. Dr. Frederickson’s poems and book reviews have been published in national literary journals.

Congratulations, Dr. Frederickson! Thank you to all who sent manuscripts for the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2013! A hearty thanks to Sam Hamill, this year’s final judge, for a difficult job well done. Thanks to first readers, Ann Elizabeth Huston and Katie Pfalzgraff, whose help and energy are always appreciated.


  • Cardinal Points by Sandra Larson
  • Web to Weave & Corn to Grind by Stephen Cramer
  • East & West by Piotr Florczyk
  • Tributaries by Laura Da’
  • Eventually Yours by Daniel Lusk
  • Church of Needles by Sarah Sousa
  • Back Room at the Philosophers’ Club by Christopher Buckley
  • After Fever by Danielle Deulen
  • After Lunch with Frank O’Hara by Craig Cotter
  • Sand Opera by Philip Metres
  • Unruined by Valerie Wallace
  • How We Bury Our Dead by Jonathan Travelstead
  • Mud Angel & the Last Mermaid by M.E. Silverman


Winner of 2012 Idaho Prize for Poetry

Whelm by dawn lonsinger

Nance Van Winckel, final judge for the 2012 Idaho Prize for Poetry, has declared dawn lonsinger’s Whelm this year’s Idaho Prize winner. Ms. lonsinger will receive $1000 prize money plus publication by Lost Horse Press. Whelm will be released in Spring 2013.

“I so admire the tension between the macro and micro worlds here. Whitmanesque inventories collide with intimate interiorities. dawn lonsinger turns a tough eye and a tender heart toward the experience of living fully in the rush of the NOW and the flickering echoes of history. These are lushly rendered poems to savor and/or to devour.”

—Nance Van Winckel, author of Pacific Walker (University of Washington Press, 2013)

2012 Short List

  • Sarah Sousa   Church of Needles
  • Lauren Bower Smith   Birdello

2012 Finalists

  • Lawrence Wray   The Night People Imagine 
  • Joanne Lehman   At Fountain Nook
  • Julie Marie Wade   Six
  • Anita Feng   Buddha Doing the Breast Stroke
  • Stanley Radhuber   The Eiger and Other Walls
  • Randolph Thomas   The Course of the Telling 
  • Angela Narciso Torres   Sampaguita 
  • Alan Soldofsky   In the Buddha Factory
  • Stan Rubin   There, Here 
  • Al Nyhart   The Man Himself

Lost Horse Press thanks the winner, the finalists, all the poets who entered the Idaho Prize 2012, the first readers, and Nance Van Winckel, final judge for the Idaho Prize 2012!


Winner of 2011 Idaho Prize for Poetry

Old & Lost Rivers by J.T. Ledbetter

Short List

  • Notes from the Journey Westward by Joe Wilkins
  • What Does Lorca Own? by Kate Kingston


  • Evolution Of The Genus Iris, Robert Michael Pyle
  • The Alp At The End Of The Street, Gary Leising
  • Nemesis, Melanie Willette
  • The Pomegranate, Sister Of The Heart, Carlos Reyes
  • Praise Nothing, Joshua Robbins
  • Be Seeing You, Empire, Stephen Danos
  • Oils And Salts, Niki Leopold
  • Variations On A Domestic Theme, Anna Lowe Weber
  • Sorry Motel, Amy Miller
  • In The Sadness Museum, Susan Thomas
  • Borrowed Tales, Deborah Woodard
  • Self-Deliverance, William Greenway
  • To Stave Off Disaster, Sarah Sousa
  • The Hand Of Burning Prayers, Kirun Kapur

We heartily thank all the poets who submitted their work to the Idaho Prize for Poetry 2011!


Winner of the 2010 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Oyster Perpetual by Austin LaGrone

The final judge for the 2010 Idaho Prize for Poetry was Thomas Lux.

Finalists of the 2008 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Rust Fish, Maya Jewell Zeller (Spokane, WA)
  • Between Their Bodies, A Space, Kasey Jueds (Philadelphia, PA)
  • The History of Permanence, Gary Finke (Selinsgrove, PA)
  • Flight, Corrine Clegg Hales (Fresno, CA)
  • The Eiger and Other Walls, Stanley Radhuber (Aubignan, France)
  • Miracle Atlas, Jay Leeming (Ithaca, NY)
  • The One and Only Flamming World, David James (Linden, MI)
  • Letter from Paradise, Mary Ann McFadden (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
  • The Natural Order of Things, Cathy Carlisi (Atlanta, GA)
  • Children of Interrogation, Martin Ott (Los Angeles, CA)
  • As If Returning Home, Jarita Davis (Falmouth, MA)
  • Surrounded by Owls, James McKean (Iowa City, IA)
  • Magdelana’s Passage, Jennifer Foerster (San Francisco, CA)
  • Mosslight, Kimberley Pittman-Schultz (Fieldbrook, CA)
  • Horses in the Cathedral, Kimberly Burwick (Moscow, ID)
  • Girls on Land, Nicole Melanson (Reading, MA)
  • Freak Show, Valerie Bandura (Gilbert, AZ)
  • Voodoo Inverso, Mark Wagenaar (Charlottesville, VA)


Winner of the 2009 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Frescoes poems by Stephen Gibson

“In Frescoes, Stephen Gibson assumes the charge of the engaged tourist, paying his entry fee to the chapels and basilicas of Renaissance Florence and Padua and Rome in order to enter in to much more subversive premises: to see through the pigmented plaster and marble facades to the real-life consequences of original sin and human depravity depicted in these treasures of High Art. Gibson is a wised-up pilgrim in sanctuaries whose faith he cannot share.

“Harsh and highly accomplished, these poems redeem the people from the paint, plaster and piety. They pull victims and perpetrators alike out of the history and myth of the treasures of Great Arts into the arena of our ongoing moral dilemmas, our struggles for survival as well as for the preservation of compassion and decency in a perennially fallen human world.”

—Carolyne Wright, from the judge’s introduction

Finalists of the 2009 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Thunder Shakes the Snake: The Poetry of Cheng Hui by John Brady
  • Every Possible Blue by Matthew Thorburn
  • Fur Traders on the Missouri by John Bensko
  • little lung damage by Esther Lee
  • We Are the Bus by Jim McKean
  • Animal Kingdom by Peter Munro
  • Radioactive City by Richard Robbins
  • Still-Life Breathing by Catherine Staples
  • Ragged Point Road by Joe Wilkins
  • Rust Fish by Maya Jewell Zeller


Winner of the 2008 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Lucifer, a Hagiography a poem by Philip Memmer

“Lucifer is on a non-linear trajectory, revolving its readers through the profane and the pious swinging door of heaven and earth. Memmer’s collection, with a few pitches and an unexpected saint we can all root for, has the power to provoke, enlighten and unsettle. The paradox remains the same—so much is at stake in these poems, and so little—but Memmer has managed to give us an original and remarkable passageway.”

–M.L. Smoker, Final Judge for the 2008 Idaho Prize for Poetry

Finalists of the 2008 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Troubled Tongues by Crystal Williams
  • Boys Whistling Like Canaries by Jorn Ake
  • Kurosawa’s Dog by Dennis Hinrichsen
  • The Natural Order of Things by Cathy Carlisi
  • The Chapel of Each Day by Tim Skeen
  • Beautiful in the Mouth by Keetje Kuipers
  • Egoli Exhaustress by Matthew Gavin Frank
  • Dear Weather Ghost by Melissa Ginsburg
  • Basin and Plateau by Ian Harris
  • The Promise of a Field by Jessica Grant Bundschuh
  • Labor in Vain by Landon Godfrey
  • Lantern Puzzle by Ye Chun
  • The Empty Notebook by Susan Thomas
  • Catch Light by Sarah O’Brien
  • Folly by David Axelrod
  • Radioactive City by Richard Robbins


Winner of the 2007 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Friendly Fire poems by Katrina Roberts

Friendly Fire, Katrina Roberts’ cycle of fifty-two sonnets, proves the durability and flexibility of the lyric today. A taut narrative scaffolding supports Roberts’ brief, searing meditations on family, farm labor, friendship, illness, parenting. Colloquial language lends verve. Literal images evoke the texture of farm life. Roberts explores abstraction (“Forgiveness”) with apt metaphor: “I shelter the grudge, build / a rustic cabin for it in my chest, pound rusty nails / in to anchor a porch where I sit glaring.” At the close of “Malignant,” the narrator asks a timeless question: “what lies in wait for us?” Read Friendly Fire for Roberts’ sensual and wise rendering of the here and now.

–Robin Becker, Final Judge for the 2007 Idaho Prize for Poetry

Finalists of the 2007 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Past Eden by Alice Templeton
  • The Brother Swimming Beneath Me by Brent Goodman
  • Self-Evident by Scott Hightower
  • Reflections in Blu by Carolyne Wright
  • Hyssop by Susanna Chidress
  • Accidental Music By Anne Pitkin
  • Peacetime by Tim Skeen
  • Fugitive Dust by Kathleen Winter
  • The Natural Order of Things by Cathy Carlisi
  • Afraid the Future Burns by James Grabill
  • Nowhere by W. T. Pfefferle
  • Nervous Arrangement of Words Play House by Carol Guess
  • Stay by Kathleen McGookey
  • Hold Everything Down by William Notter
  • The Stones We Bring With Us by Carlos Reyes


Winner of the 2006 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Retreats and Recognitions poems by Grace Bauer

“All one has to do is read “Note From the Imaginary Daughter,” the first poem in Grace Bauer’s Retreats and Recognitions, and you’ll be caught in the grip of psychological drama and an evocative imagination that will make you want to read further. Bauer’s poems probe the dark landscapes between impression and apprehension, the past and its repetition though imaginative transformation, impulse and restraint. Her delivery is tough and terse; her imagery is fresh and often startling. There is experience and authority in her voice. She can be immensely witty, as in “Plot Lines,” where she improvises on the word, tale, or virtuoso as in her intricate sestina, “A Little Like Dorothy.” Succinct, like “Awakened By the Fall,” and evocative, like “Lunacy.” Her poems are poignant, intelligent, and believable. Poetry lovers, read this book!”

—Robert Pack, Final Judge for the 2006 Idaho Prize for Poetry

Finalists of the 2006 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • No Sweeter Fat by Nancy Pagh
  • Union by Emily Raabe
  • Holding Time by Robert Carl Williams
  • Woman, Money, Watch, Gun by Carolyne Wright


Winner of the 2005 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Thistle poems by Melissa Kwasny

Final Judge 2005, Christopher Howell

Finalists of the 2005 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Landscape With Silos by Deborah Bogen
  • Instrumental Gods by Matt Donovan
  • Variations in the Key of Night by Stan Rubin
  • Other Americas by Richard Robbins
  • Sudden Anthem by Matthew Guenette
  • The Blue Cottage by James Brasfield
  • Hope by Judith Hemschmeyer
  • Difficult Beauties by Janet Wondra
  • So Many People Couldn’t Be Wrong by Laurie Blauner
  • Heat Lightning by Judith Skilman
  • This Brief Earth by Bern Mulvey


Winner of the 2004 Idaho Prize for Poetry


Hurry Back poems by Alvin Greenberg

2004 Final Judge, Marvin Bell

Finalists of the 2004 Idaho Prize for Poetry

  • Landscape with Silos by Deborah Bogen
  • The Devil’s Calligraphy by Matt Yurdana
  • American Common Prayers by Robert Brian Strong
  • These Blue Rooms by Laura Read
  • The Untested Hand by Richard Robbins
  • The School of Weeping by Jennifer Maier
  • Mister Five-by-Five by Philip Dacey
  • The Last Days of Elvis by D. James Smith
  • A Change of Maps by Carolyne Wright