Sarah Estes Graham

Field Work, by Sarah Estes, wins 2014 CPR Editors’ Prize

The editors of Cider Press Review are delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 CPR Editors’ Prize:

Field Work

by Sarah Estes

Field Work is Estes’s first full-length book of poetry.

Estes will receive a $1,000 prize, publication, and 25 author’s copies. In response to the award, Estes says:

My poems have been called both unusual and inventive. This is likely a result of my scattered upbringing–always profoundly centered in region and family–but scanning the rural and urban Midwest and later Europe and Japan. Over the past ten years, I’ve had two children and moved from Portland to Virginia, finally landing in Los Angeles. I love both lyric and narrative, formal metre along with metrics that are more ‘out there.’  In short, I’m a typical American hybrid. I’ve put my whole life into these poems, and hope that people can find something that speaks to them in the book.

I’m a long time fan of Cider Press and am over the moon that my manuscript has found a home there.

Commenting on the manuscript, CPR Managing Editor, Ruth Foley writes:

I’m drawn to its honesty, and to her ability to ground the poems so firmly in place while retaining a sense of lightness (there’s breathing room many of these poems, even as they are simultaneously breathtaking), and especially to her surprising-yet-somehow-inevitable imagery.

See “Ardennes” for an example:


Night, a woolen blanket
of shallow bogs and dense fingered woods.
Belgium flattens to the West
a small rivulet of song.

The Meuse valley was always
a narrow pass to a darker forest,

her slender strangled neck.

the air and bury your rings

On watch,
the sentries smoke
blotting the smell of latrines.

Soldiers in puddle boots
and the beautiful named guns—
Cupola, Collar bone.

Shelling went one per minute all night.
The face of your mother in the fog
meant it had gone badly.

Smiling, ghostlike,
you were already half dead.


Grandfather and his brother
cock their turtle helmets to one side
a suicidal cigarette at the corner of his mouth.

Two survivors grimace toward a future sky
where one will hang himself
over the mouth of a barn.

No one knows if it was the war
or the plodding walk of smaller horrors
that killed him. The lush acres of dirt,
grief’s wrenched swath of back.

Life of rain and furrowed trenches
the slow groan of a rusting wheelbarrow
rolling the year-heavy ground.

Thanks to AGNI Online, in which journal this poem originally appeared.

Field Work will be published by Cider Press Review in August, 2015.  Last year’s winning book, Watershed by Laura Donnelly, will be released next month and is available for pre-order in the CPR bookstore.

About Sarah Estes

Sarah Estes GrahamSarah Estes’s work has appeared in Agni, The Atlantic, Christian Science Monitor, Cimarron, Crab Orchard Review, Field, New Orleans Review, Southern Review and elsewhere. Her manuscript was the runner up for the 2013 Cider Press Review Book Award, and has been shortlisted for the Crab Orchard Poetry Series, Dorset Prize, Four Way Books Intro Prize, Levine Prize, Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series. Her chapbook, Hive Bone, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

She received her MFA from the University of Virginia as a Hoyns Fellow in poetry and received a Master’s in religion and culture at Harvard (with half the course-work in creative writing) as well. She has received grants and conference funding from Bread Loaf, the University of Virginia English Department and the Institute for Humane Studies. She has also taught poetry and composition at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, Young Writers’ Workshop and Tsurumaru High School in Kagoshima, Japan. She is currently a creative nonfiction fellow with To Think, To Write, To Publish funded by the National Science Foundation. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and is a regular online contributor to Scientific American and Psychology Today.

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