Wells’ Visiting Assistant Professor of English Dan Rosenberg recently won the 2014 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest for his original chapbook, Thigh's Hollow. The chapbook, culled from a larger manuscript written for his doctoral dissertation, features a collection of poems written in an identical voice and in a form that Rosenberg invented—one made up of the exact same number of lines and syllables. “Part of the idea is that it takes the same amount of time to read each poem,” said Rosenberg. “This ‘straightjacket’ of form creates the voice. It rises out of constriction.”
The narrative voice that unifies these works is based on the biblical character of Esau, who is tricked into selling his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob. “He’s kind of the ‘other brother’ from this traditional story. I’m not retelling the myth, but using him to get at problems of faith or divine conflicts,” Rosenberg said. “Esau is the one who doesn’t get chosen.”
Thigh’s Hollow was named as the contest winner in September and will be published by Omnidawn next year. Omnidawn Publishing holds three annual writing contests; the chapbook contest has been held since 2010. The well-known organization seeks to promote “lively, culturally pertinent, emotionally and intellectually engaging literature.” Founded in 2001, they have published a broad range of titles that have been reviewed in publications such as Publishers Weekly, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and The Village Voice.
Dan Rosenberg joined the Wells community and the English Department this fall, also taking over the College’s long-running Visiting Writers Series. The first event of the 2014-15 year was a joint reading with Professor Emeritus of English Bruce Bennett.
As a poet, translator, and reviewer, his work has appeared broadly in print and online. Rosenberg is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, cadabra (forthcoming, Carnegie Mellon University Press) and The Crushing Organ (2012, Dream Horse Press, Winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize). His co-translation of Slovenian poet Miklavž Komelj’s Hippodrome is forthcoming from Zephyr Press. His recent poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Blackbird, Salt Hill, and jubilat, and recent reviews have appeared in The Georgia Review and the Kenyon Review Online. He co-edits the independent online poetry journal Transom.