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.”