Each year, Lake Forest College awards the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writers Residency Prize to a poet or fiction writer under the age of 40 who has yet to publish a first book. The winner receives $10,000, two months in residency on the campus of Lake Forest College, and publication of his or her book by &NOW Books / Lake Forest College Press, with distribution from Northwestern University Press. Past winners include Jessica Savitz (poet, author of Hunting Is Painting) and Gretchen E. Henderson (hybrid fiction writer, author of Galerie de Difformité). We are proud to announce the October 31 publication date for the most recent Plonsker Prize winner to see print, Jose Perez Beduya’s Throng. An electronic galley of the book has been attached for your possible review.
Jose Perez Beduya’s first book Throng takes us “inside the bright wheel” where selfhood and community whirl along the event horizon of an elusive center—the fused question of the Singular and the Common. Judge Jennifer Moxley, who selected Beduya as the winner of the 2011 Plonsker Prize, writes that in this book “a shimmering subjectivity—sometimes singular, more often plural—emits an intermittent signal, coming in and out of view like some mysterious lost ‘other’ flashing a pocket mirror against the sun in hope of rescue.”
In spare lyrics evocative of what George Oppen called “the bright light of shipwreck,” Beduya searches not just for the meaning of being numerous but how to sustain that numerousness, with “No trace showing / The quickest way back / No light caught / In the hair of the void.” The poems are fierce, tensile, and assured, but also display a heartbreaking vulnerability: “Who belongs / To this wounded face / How do we / Extinguish our hands / In prayer.” The ethics of beauty in the face of violence contend with and haunt the forms of political desire in this marvelous and unexpected debut.
Jose Perez Beduya lives in Ithaca, New York. He has a bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of the Philippines and an MFA in creative writing from Cornell University. He received the 2011 Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize for Throng.
October World First Publication 6 x 9
Paper ISBN: 978-0-9823156-7-5 0-9823156-7-8