Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award

2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award Winner

Raena Shirali for Gilt
from Yes Yes Books

Judge: Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Raena Shirali's book of poetry, Gilt, is a lyrical and brilliantly colorful exploration of her identity as an Indian-American woman. An almost dizzying power and honesty characterize this work and her poetic voice is not one that will be easily forgotten. She helps us comprehend the difficulties of balancing her ethnic heritage with her American life..

Kessler Award Finalists for 2018 (in alphabetical order):

  • Bao Phi for Thousand Star Hotel (Coffee House Press)
  • Lynne Sharon Schwartz for No Way Out But Through (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Nicole Sealey for Ordinary Beast (Ecco)
  • Danez Smith for Don't Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press)
  • Maggie Smith for Good Bones (Tupelo Press)
  • William Trowbridge for Vanishing Point (Red Hen Press)
  • Afaa Michael Weaver for Spirit Boxing (University of Pittsburgh Press