Results of the Poetry by the Sea Book Award

IWe are delighted to announce the results of the Poetry by the Sea Book Award: At the Lepidopterist’s House by Chelsea Woodard, selected by judge Jane Satterfield. Chelsea will be awarded a prize of $500 and is invited to read from At the Lepidopterist’s House in May at Poetry by the Sea 2024.

As we announce the winner, we do so with gratitude to Jane Satterfield for serving as the judge, as well as to all the poets whose enthusiasm made this contest possible. Thank you for submitting your fine work.

Please join us in congratulating the winner, as well the two finalists!

FIRST PRIZE: At the Lepidopterist’s House by Chelsea Woodard

Chelsea Woodard’s third collection, At the Lepidopterist’s House, won the 2022 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and was published by Southern Indiana Review Press in 2023. She is also the author of Solitary Bee (Measure Press, 2016) and Vellum (Able Muse Press, 2014). Chelsea is the recipient of the 2024 Peter Heinegg Literary Award, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and a residency at Vermont Studio Center. She lives and teaches in New Hampshire.

Praise for the winning book: Woodard’s feeling for the natural world is rare among contemporary poets. Technical facility and sonic pleasures appear on every page. Traveling the landscape of myth and memory, Woodard brings to life a range of personae whose love of art and artifice offers healing: from Eris and Hypatia, to Dickinson, Nabokov, and more. Modern-day pilgrims include a forest bather seeking “the words she needed to describe/the robins’ broke shells/and husks of garter snakes, the little spells/when we escape our bodies,” and a metal detectorist whose painstaking work unearths “the wreckage of a world somebody built.” Syntactically rich, filled with surprising turns, these are poems that face down the darker currents of history’s turbulence, as fluent in their tracking of a tornado’s wrecking path as in their careful tracing of lovers’ inner weather. At the Lepidopterist’s House is a book of meditative grace and rich reward.

–Jane Satterfield, Judge


The Book Eaters by Carolina Hotchandani 

The Mansions by Daniel Tobin

Praise for The Book Eaters by Carolina Hotchandani: Carolina Hotchandani’s sensitivity to the crises of family, culture, and nature find expression in poems that are vividly drawn and formally confident. Domestic scenes provide a lens for confronting memory loss and a shared inheritance shaped by the legacy of British Imperial rule and immigration. “I Keep Searching for the Perfect Metaphor” crafts a canny parallel between the destructive appetite of book-devouring insects and the ravaging of her father’s memory by aphasia, while “A Cord to Bind Us” explores a mother’s embrace of “the future embodied/in the body of my child.” Throughout The Book Eaters, Hotchandani’s inventive lines chart the complex route by which “history finds its ways to pass through us.”  

–Jane Satterfield, Judge

Praise for The Mansions by Daniel Tobin: Daniel Tobin’s The Mansions, a book of astonishing sweep and ambition, brings the last century into our own by focusing on the giants Simone Weil, Teilhard de Chardin, and Georges Lemaître. Immersed in matters of faith, philosophy, and science, Tobin combines technical facility, empathy, and deep learning in poems that are responsive to the quotidian and the divine. From the dark galleries of Ice Age caves of the Dordogne “where the first imaginers lifted their long-flown scaffolds,” to battlefield trenches and research labs where nuclear matter was once placed “in its vessel,/spherical chalice, for containment,” Tobin’s sculpted lines channel Dante’s spirit in their quest to reconcile difficult contradictions with the need to live a life of compassion and purpose.

–Jane Satterfield, Judge

Thank you again to this year’s contest judge, Jane Satterfield, and to all the poets who helped make this year’s book contest a success!