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Sonoma County Poet-Teacher Kelly Gray Wins the Tusculum Review 2023 Poetry Chapbook Prize!



Justin Phillip Reed, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry and the Lambada Award, has selected Kelly Gray’s The Mating Calls of a Specter as the winner of The Tusculum Review 2023 Poetry Chapbook Prize.


Kelly Gray is a Poet-Teacher living and working in Sonoma County.


Reed praises Gray’s work:


“. . . It’s really the sensual that gets me—some restoration of faith in the body-poem union comes terrifically alive here, not the least due to the presence of damp animals, sharp instruments, bare stomachs, wafts of beer breath, truck exhaust, ‘thin femurs// jagged alps of possum teeth.’ An anxious Frankenwork. I frequently delight in feeling frightened; is that alright? I’m made to ask. Is delight an appropriate response to these images? Should one feel ‘appropriate’ when reading poetry? In a contemporary fog of content over-saturation, I can’t not advocate for cultivating this sort of self-checking trouble as a beacon of worthwhile writing.”


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