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Howling Bird Press has awarded the 2018 poetry prize to Simples by KateLynn Hibbard of St. Paul, Minnesota. The press will publish the book in November 2018, and Hibbard receives a $1,000 prize. Hibbard’s work was chosen in a national competition among more than one-hundred submissions.
Hibbard based Simples on extensive research into the history of women’s experiences on the American prairie during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Simples uses free verse and poetic form and persona to examine the lives of settlers and indigenous women against the backdrop of the Great Plains, with close attention to flora and fauna as well as the goods and materials of daily life. This unblinking look at a historical moment examines hardships both endured and inflicted.
“I started to get in touch with the fact that women’s voices and women’s experiences in this period of history and really in all periods of history have not been voiced as much as I think they should be,” Hibbard says. In Simples, she invites readers to experience the historical struggles of women in a way that is much more accessible than a textbook account.
Augsburg University’s student-run Howling Bird Press issues a nationwide call for submissions on an annual basis. Prior to awarding the 2018 Howling Bird Prize to Hibbard, Howling Bird’s editorial board reviewed over 130 manuscripts submitted by writers at all levels of expertise, from beginning poets to well-established authors.