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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
July 28, 2017

WINNER of the IDAHO PRIZE for POETRY 2017 • Selected by Robert Wrigley

The winner of the IDAHO PRIZE for POETRY 2017—Selected by final judge Robert Wrigley—is POST & RAIL by Erica Funkhouser.



Sketches for the Summer Maudlin by Stephen Priest

Coracle by Emily Tuszynska

Posthumous Noon by Aaron Baker

November by Samn Stockwell

In-Migration by Kimberly Kruge

Falling Sick While Dreaming by Stuart Greenhouse

Naming the Lifeboat by Justin Gardiner

Bizarre by Nathaniel Perry

Love Letters by Laure McKee

Archangelly by Allen Peterson

The Infinity Room by Gary Fincke

[ganbatte] by Sarah Kortemeier

You Won’t Find it On a Map by Kathryn Hunt

Wild Honey, Tough Salt by Kim Stafford

LOST HORSE PRESS would like to thank all poets who submitted their work to The Idaho Prize for Poetry 2017; thanks to our First Readers for their keen reading skills; a hearty Thank You to Robert Wrigley, Final Judge, for his insightful choice; and, most of all, congratulations to Erica Funkhouser.


“I’m fascinated by the formal deftness of these couplets—three per page of almost exactly the same length (without word-processing assistance)—which are, yes, a set of fence rails (and I love the invisible, stolid posts).  There are readers who would find that sort of strategy suspect: the idea that a formal or structural device could shape a collection in a meaningful way. But in this case, it is so very well done. The collection’s personal, at least historically personal—family history, in which we get to know an evermore silent coal miner father and a eerily silent-but-communicative mother, as well as the fences, literal and figurative, that keep them separate and together. The family is the fence and the fence is the family; we’re on one side, and we’re on the other side of those rails. Add to this certain aspects of astronomical physics (black holes, the big bang, the sound of the universe speaking), and the book is both modest and immensely ambitious. Finally, in regards to a blind evaluation:  most of the way through the manuscript, I’m unaware of the poet’s gender. I gather, from a later poem, that the poet may be a woman, but I’m not ready to bet yet. There’s something wonderful about that.”

—Robert Wrigley, Final Judge 2017



Erica Funkhouser’s most recent book of poems, Earthly, was published by Houghton Mifflinef1 Harcourt in April of 2008. Other Houghton Mifflin titles include Pursuit (2002), The Actual World (1997) and Sure Shot And Other Poems (1992). Natural Affinities was published by Alice James Books in 1983. Included in Sure Shot are three dramatic monologues in the voices of 19th century American women: Sacagawea, Louisa May Alcott, and Annie Oakley. The Oakley poem was adapted for the stage and produced by the Helicon Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Funkhouser’s work on Sacagawea led her to become involved with the production of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary on the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and her essay on Sacagawea appears in Ken Burns’ and Dayton Duncan’s Lewis and Clark (Knopf, 1997). “Singing in Dark Times,” an essay on war poetry, appeared in the Autumn 2005 issue of The Harvard Review, and a story, Snapper, appeared in The Massachusetts Review in 2006. Funkhouser’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Poetry  and other magazines; one of her poems has been sand-blasted into the wall of the Davis Square MBTA Station in Somerville, MA. Educated at Vassar College (BA) and Stanford University (MA), Funkhouser was honored as a Literary Light by The Boston Public Library in 2002 and in 2007 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. She lives in Essex, MA and teaches at MIT.