Peter Twal Wins 2018 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

University of Arkansas Press announced the winner of this year’s Etel Adnan Poetry Prize, Jordanian-American poet-engineer Peter Twal:

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: