On Monday, December 11, Peter Twal has been named the winner of this year’s Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for his collection Our Earliest Tattoos.
Twal will receive $1,000, and his collection will be published by the University of Arkansas Press next fall.
Twal is a Jordanian-American electrical engineer from Baton Rouge, and his work has appeared in Best New Poets, Kenyon Review Online, West Branch Wired, and elsewhere.
According to organizers:
Our Earliest Tattoos challenges traditional notions about memory, forcing readers to confront the cruelty of how we blend collective and individual wounds to form constructed selves. The poems are written in sonnet form while at the same time bucking convention.
was chosen by Etel Adnan series editors Hayan Charara and Fady Joudah.
In the release, Joudah said:
Peter Twal’s poetic energy combines the absurd with the grave, the hilarious with the profound, the wacky with the tragic. In driving lines filled with unrelenting rhythms, his concerns engage the gray zone where the injured, mortal self is also fraudulent. But he does this with kindness, with joy, and stark metaphors, through imaginative lexicon and constructed protagonists. In this wonderful debut collection, Peter Twal impersonates himself: the gifted American poet in his best suit in the gala of originality.
Selected poems by Twal:
- Gulf Coast:”The Moral Kicks In”
- Kenyon Review Online: “One of the Ways that We Show Our Age”
- New Delta Review: “It’s the Memory of Our Betters”
- Ninth Letter Online: “People Who Are Trying to Be Polite”
- Public Pool: “Stand, You Can Sleep on the Plane”
- Tinderbox Poetry Journal: “Up Late But If You’re Worried”
- Tinderbox Poetry Journal: “Come Apart in Your Hand”
- West Branch Wired: “Come Home to This and with a Face”