The Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award for 2017

The Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award for 2016

Winner: As If Wine Could Pour From Her Nipple — M. J. Kledzik

Mary Jean Kledzik was a failed ballerina, nursing school drop-out, security guard, and car salesman to support herself and children while getting a B.A. from Christopher Newport College one course at a time, graduating at 36 years old. She believes in poetry and persistence.

She has published in The Paris Review, Agni, Hotel Amerika, Gargoyle, Western Humanities Review, Margie, Confrontation and elsewhere. She received an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008, winning the graduate poetry award in both 2007 and 2008. Her book, As if Wine Could Pour from Her Nipple was published by San Francisco Bay Press in 2016. She gives workshops on ekphrasis since starting the local craze in 1999. Currently, she’s developing a new presentation/workshop; Exorcising Trauma: writing as a powerful start to healing. This year she was the featured presenter at Old Dominion University’s Poetry Festival. She lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband.

At the Poetry Society of Virginia Festival on May 27, 2017 Tim Siebles, current Poet Laureate, of Virginia presented the 2017 PSV Book Award to M.J. Kledzik for her book, As If Wine Could Pour From Her Nipple, published by San Francisco Bay Press.

Current Poet Laureate of Virginia, Tim Siebles, awards the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award.

2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Award Finalists

The Treasures That Prevail — Jen Karetnick
The Body, A Tree — Amy MacLennan
Sometimes the Little Town — Sara M. Robinson

About the Award

The book of poetry submitted must be the work of a single author of at least 48 pages published in 2016 by an established press. Manuscripts, videos, CDs, and chapbooks are not accepted, nor are books that have won awards. It is expected that books will contain a collection of new poems and/or previously published poems.

Submission Date
Three copies of the submitted book must be sent to Nancy Powell (postmarked on or before January 15, 2017). — Deadline for entry has been extended to submissions postmarked on or before January 31st, 2017

Nancy Powell
164 Mill Point Drive
Hampton, VA 23669

The Award Committee
Chaired by Nancy Powell, the Award Committee is composed of Henry Hart, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Sofia Starnes, Joshua Poteat, and Ron Smith.

Final Judge: Tim Seibles, Poet Laureate of Virginia.

The winner will receive a plaque, a $300 monetary award, and will be recognized at the May Poetry Festival of the Poetry Society of Virginia.

$25 for members of the PSV; $35 for non-members (includes one-year membership to PSV)

Questions: Contact Nancy Powell at

2016 Book Award Winner

“Paradise Drive” by Rebecca Foust


Rebecca Foust won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry for Paradise Drive. Her other books include God, Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World (Tebot Bach, 2010), a collaboration with artist Lorna Stevens that received a 2010 Foreword Book of the Year Award; All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving, 2010), which received the 2008 MMM Press Poetry Book Prize; and two chapbooks, Mom’s Canoe (Texas Review Press, 2009) and Dark Card (Texas Review Press, 2008), both winners of the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook prize. Foust earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College in 2010 and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place and The MacDowell Colony. Her poems have appeared widely in journals including The Hudson Review, The Massachusetts Review, Narrative, North American Review, and Sewanee Review, and her prose is in American Book Review, Chautauqua, Poetry Flash, The Rumpus, Tikkun Daily, and other journals. Her essay, “Venn Diagram,” won the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize from The Malahat Review in 2014. Foust lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area as a writer, freelance editor, teacher, and Marin Poetry Center board member.

To read book reviews or purchase:

2016 Book Award Runner-Up

“When the Men Go Off to War” by Victoria Kelly


Victoria Kelly was born in New Jersey and graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. A U.S. Mitchell Scholar, she received her M.Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and went on to earn her M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2009 from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Her fiction and poetry have appeared in the anthologies Best American Poetry 2013 and The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, as well as dozens of literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Colorado Review, Fiction, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, and Hopkins Review, among others. Her first poetry chapbook, Prayers of an American Wife, was the winner of the Coal Hill Prize and was published by Autumn House Press in 2012. Her debut full-length poetry collection, When the Men Go Off to War, was published in hardcover in September 2015 by the Naval Institute Press as the Press’s first original poetry publication in their over-100-year history. Her debut novel, Mrs. Houdini, will be published by Simon & Schuster (Atria) on March 1, 2016.

Victoria is a two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee and has taught Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and Old Dominion University. She lives with her husband and daughters.

To read book reviews and purchase information, visit:

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