The Wells College Press is very pleased to announce that the winner of our 2018 Chapbook Contest is Bret Shepard for his manuscript “Compass for Hands.” In the tradition of the Wells College Press, his chapbook will be letterpress-printed and crafted with hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. It will be published in an edition of 150 signed and numbered copies.
Shephard’s prize includes 15 copies of the chapbook and a special chapbook launch reading at Wells.
After living in Alaska and California, Bret Shepard completed his doctorate at the University of Nebraska. Currently, he lives in Tacoma, Wash., and teaches at Green River College. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Western Humanities Review and elsewhere. He is a co-editor at Dikembe Press, publisher of poetry chapbooks.
This year also marks the inaugural Bennett Prize, given to a single outstanding poem from among the finalist manuscripts. The winner is “Praise the Bird” by Kim Lozano, which will appear in a limited-edition broadside this fall. This prize is named in honor of Bruce Bennett, professor emeritus of English and former director of the Book Arts Center at Wells College.
There were approximately 375 entries to this year’s chapbook competition, and the readers and final judge were all overwhelmed by the tremendous quality of the submissions. Ultimately, Bret Shepard’s “Compass for Hands” stood out. One reader responded by calling it “a remarkable collection. Haunting, evocative, mysterious and authoritative.” The contest judge, Assistant Professor of English Dan Rosenberg, agreed, describing the poems as “taut, rich, surprisingly clear and riddled with wisdom—or a longing for it.”
Learn more about the Book Arts Center and Wells College Press at wellsbookartscenter.org.