Winner, 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize
In a series of persona poems, Jayson Iwen examines the intimate thoughts and feelings of Americans whose lives have been predominantly ignored by contemporary mainstream culture, revealing the everyday heartbreak and beauty experienced by people living at the periphery of the nation’s consciousness. Roze & Blud was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Green Rose Prize, as well as a semi-finalist for the Wheeler Prize and the Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes.
Supported by the Miller and Lucinda Williams Poetry Fund.
“The poems in Jayson Iwen’s Roze & Blud so clearly capture life in the Twin Ports—the ‘Horns in the Harbor,’ snowblowers at dawn, the ‘blue haze’ of football Sundays in the lives of the working poor—that the characters within them seem to be manifestations of the place itself. Roze Mertha and William Blud rise up, poem by poem, remarkable as people and the perfect vessels to deliver Iwen’s profound philosophies. The great discoveries here feel effortless in the presence of these two, Roze and William, two of the ‘Earth’s / many selves, rushing forward into life.’”
—Ryan Vine, author of To Keep Him Hidden and Distant Engines