Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence
Cannibal
Safiya Sinclair
Winner of the 2015 Book Prize in Poetry

The Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry for 2015 goes to “Cannibal” by Safiya Sinclair. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press. Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and received her MFA in poetry at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Catacombs, a chapbook of poetry and essays, (Argos Books, 2011). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, the Cincinnati Review, the Journal, Devil's Lake, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a writing fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Amy Clampitt Residency Award, an Emerging Writer Fellowship from Aspen Summer Words, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. She is currently pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California, where she is a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow.

About The Book

Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.

About The Author

Safiya Sinclair was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, the Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, the Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Sinclair received her MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia and is a Dornsife Doctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California.

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Praise

"Stunning debut collection"—Publishers Weekly starred review

"Reading (and rereading) Sinclair is an urgently necessary, absolutely unparalleled experience."—Diego Báez, Booklist starred review

“Safiya Sinclair writes strange, mythological, gorgeously elaborate lyric poems, with a diction that is both arcane and contemporary. . . . Her language is distinctive, assured, and a marvel to read.”—Cathy Park Hong, from her introduction to Safiya Sinclair in the Boston Review
 
“Cannibal is nothing less than an entrancing debut that reveals the teeming intellect and ravishing lucidity of a young poet in full possession of her literary powers. Here is a poetry that richly interrogates power and history while also eloquently and furtively asserting the possibilities of nature, desire, and the body as ceremonial and spiritual sources of resistance and affirmation.”—Major Jackson, author of Roll Deep

“With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful. Intelligent and elemental, these poems mark the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed.”—Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things