Thank you to these fine poets, to our selection committee and guest
judge, and to everyone who nominated poems or made a donation to
make this award possible. Due to your generosity and desire to
celebrate poets, we were able to award $1,000 this year, in memory
of Nina Riggs.

here to learn more about this award.
Congratulations to
winner of the 2020 Nina Riggs Poetry Award for
her poem "Good Mother."

                              Melissa Crowe
for "Dear Terror, Dear Splendor," of which Maria Hummel writes:

"Melissa Crowe's "Dear Terror, Dear Splendor" is structurally
brilliant: a letter composed directly to the pain and joy of
motherhood, on the eve of her daughter's learning to drive. There's a
devastating precision to Crowe's lines, in the repetition of the sound
"or" in her title words and her slow, tense advance into a night
shadowed by future partings. Even among the many skillfully crafted
finalist poems, "Dear Terror, Dear Splendor" was a standout."


Traci Brimhall, "Oh, Wonder"
Tiana Clark, "A Louder Thing"
Carrie Fountain, "Will You?"
Keetje Kuipers, "Still Life with Small Objects of Perfect Choking Size"
Megan Peak, "What I Don't Tell My Mother about Ohio"
Thomas Reiter, "Companions"
Anna Ross, "One Time"
Molly Spencer, "A Wooing, Outright, of My Beloved Ones"
"Good Mother" was published in a 2018 issue of Tin House.

here to read the poem and learn more about the winner.
A special thank you to our GUEST JUDGE, Maria Hummel, author
House and Fire (Copper Canyon Press), who writes:

"To read Rachel Eliza Griffiths
' "Good Mother" is to touch the live wire
of a daughter's grief, as she walks into a drugstore before Mother's
Day, looking for a card to give her lost mother. But Griffiths' real
electric miracle is how she passes on the maternal moment of grace
that follows--wrapping the reader in her dazzling imagery and long,
hymn-like lines. Both an elegy and a praise song to mothers
everywhere, the ones who give birth to us and the ones who step in to
shepherd us through dark times, "Good Mother" is a stunning,
complex, and deeply moving poem."