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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Announcing the Winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize - 2020

What a fantastic collection of poetry manuscripts we received for our second year of The Birdy Poetry Prize. Thank you to each and every poet who shared their work with us. It has been an honor and a pleasure.

The winner of The Birdy Poetry Prize for 2020 is:

Selected Poems: 2000-2020
JC Mehta
Hillsboro, OR

Note from the Judge:
“This Selected group of poems illuminates some harsh realities regarding identity. There are poems that smack a consciousness sideways. The poems have a real grit to them. For the reader, each poem will be an eye-opening experience.”

Poet/Professor Stanley E. Banks

Woman with patterned head scarf and large red earrings.
JC Mehta - The Birdy Poetry Prize Winner, 2020
(photo courtesy of JC Mehta)

JC Mehta’s Selected Poems: 2000 – 2020 is comprised of two decades of writing with an intense focus on space, place, and confession in post-Colonial America. Edited and curated by Brenna Crotty of CALYX journal, Selected Poems reflects one poet’s journey as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation through a search for identity and peace.

Congratulations also to our finalists and semi-finalists. Each of these manuscripts is deserving of recognition.


Kansas Poems
Brian Daldorph
Lawrence, KS

Once and Future Selves
Melissa Fite Johnson
Lawrence, KS

When to Ask for Rain
Tyler Robert Sheldon
Baton Rouge, LA

Praise the Lord and Pass the Medication
Brenda White
Emporia, KS


The House that Grief Built
Ramona Vreeland McCallum
Garden City, KS

Head of a Gorgon
Reaegen M. Pietrucha
Gainsville, FL

This World, Not the Next
William Sheldon
Hutchinson, KS

Memory’s Gate
Pamela Yenser
Albuquerque, NM

Man in front of microphone.
Stanley E. Banks (photo by Kevin Rabas)

The poet Stanley E. Banks grew up around 12th and Vine in Kansas City, and was the first in his family to go to college. Now he’s an artist in residence at Avila University, where he teaches others to express themselves through writing. In his own work, Banks captures the music, misery and hope of a youth spent in the urban core. The first 25 years of his poetry is collected in the book Blue Beat Syncopation, published by Bookmark Press.