We are pleased to present, after much deliberation by our finalist judge Aliki Barnstone, the Many Voices Project winner in poetry.
Congratulations to Tara Ballard! Her collection, House of the Night Watch, will join Gary Peter’s Oranges in our 2018 publishing schedule.
Tara Ballard was born and raised in Alaska. For seven years now, she and her husband have been living in the Middle East and West Africa, where they teach English literature to high school students and travel often throughout the regions. Tara holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her poems have been published or recently accepted by Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts; One; Salamander; The Southampton Review; War, Literature and the Arts; and other literary magazines.
“Tara Ballard’s opulently beautiful book guides her readers through the glories and tragedies of the people of the Middle East with such vivid language that we profoundly feel sensations; we can ‘taste each / syllable’ on the ‘tongue / like horseradish, like honey.’ In her witnessing, she never takes sides, though she exposes the consequences of those who do.
Unafraid of the necessary work of weaving together binaries, her poems make one fabric of the region’s lyric and spiritual traditions and its present day realities of refugees, NGOs, peacekeepers, minefields, and surveillance.
Ballard’s work carries on C.P. Cavafy’s legacy as a documentarian and “poet-historian.” Like Cavafy, she speaks in the voices of individuals in the hands of their historical moment, subject to their leaders’ often unwise and destructive agendas. We hear their full-throated voices singing vulnerability and courage, love and grieving. House of the Night Watch is a book we urgently need, one that gives us hope that one day we will wake up to peace.”