Fall Poetry 2016: First Place Winner, “EDIT” by Emma Bolden

We have had an extremely exciting time with our Poetry Countdown for the Fall 2016 Contest, but, alas, it must come to a close! Fortunately, we can easily say that this is the day we’ve been hyping towards – we finally get to announce our First Place Winner! Emma Bolden marveled us with her poem “Edit” and we hope that you’ll feel the same. Without further ado, please enjoy this exceptional piece of work from our CAUSEWAYLIT FALL 2016 POETRY CONTEST WINNER! 




Absent the orchids from their glass 
houses. Absent the stones from their homes 
in the riverbed. Absent the mothers from their sons 

as infants, the infinite o’s of their mouths. Absent 
o from the alphabet. Absent I and l 
from I love you. Add an rOver you. Take 

from the tire its tread. Take from the land 
its landing. Take from the foot its step. 
Weave a garland from air and air 

and air. Absent the air from the arrow’s path. 
Absent the string from the bow. Rip the nails 
from the beds where they sleep and bury 

them in the feathers of your feathered 
bed. Pluck from the feathers the chicken. Strip 
from the bird and its wings the sky. Absent 

from the earth the things of the earth: 
grass stains and glory. Your lips and their tongue, 
your mouth and its sweet pearls of teeth.



Emma Bolden is the author of two books of poetry — Maleficae (GenPop Books, 2013) and medi(t)ations (Noctuary Press, 2016) — and five chapbooks. Emma’s work has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily’s Web Weekly feature, Best American Poetry 2015, and the Best Small Fictions 2015. Emma was the winner of the 2014 Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize, the 2014 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose from Gulf Coast Magazine, and the 2014 Prime Number Magazine/Press 53 Contest for Flash Nonfiction. Her poetry and prose has appeared in such journals as The Rumpus, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, Conduit, the Indiana Review, the Greensboro Review, Redivider, Verse, Feminist Studies, The Journal, Guernica, the Southern Humanities Review, the Cincinnati Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and Copper Nickel. Emma currently serves as the Senior Reviews Editor at Tupelo Quarterly. 

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