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THE 2017 BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY MILT KESSLER POETRY BOOK AWARD
Patricia Colleen Murphy for Hemming Flames
from Utah State University Press
Judge: Dante DiStefano
Patricia Colleen Murphy knows the truth of Milton Kessler’s central insight as a
poet: "the mind must love the heart." Hemming Flames wrenches as it recounts a grim catalogue of family dysfunction and its lifelong aftermath.
However, this book is more than a mere chronicle of abuse and survival. These poems—by
turns witty, blunt, cosmopolitan, surreal, down-to-earth, and always devastating—are
masterful in their technique, canny in their enthusiasm for American poetry and its
many traditions, suffused with a hard-earned duende, and filled with a wry wisdom. The poems in Hemming Flames are tiny dioramas of pain that quarrel with the difficult unromantic daily tasks
of living (and remembering) and yet hold out a hope for avowal and renewal.
Kessler Award Finalists for 2017:
(in alphabetical order)