John Sibley Williams of Milwaukie, Oregon has won the 2020 Cider Press Review Book Award for his manuscript, Scale Model of a Country at Dawn. Runners-up were Stepping Over by Devon Miller-Duggan and Ghost Fire by Doug Ramspeck.
Final judge Amber Flora Thomas writes:
Scale Model of a Country at Dawn includes an impressive range of poems, each powerful and memorable. The poet seems to be holding two truths in his hands: the prayer and the wound. He is seeking and pushing to understand the claim each has on his life until he (and the reader) sees the prayer is a wound, or the wound is a prayer–they need each other, just as life and death go hand in hand. Certain images are carried through different poems in the book, such as the haunting vision of horses in a burning barn. He relates personal topics to universal concerns, such as the fires devastating the west coast. In the final section of the manuscript, the speaker walks his children into a green field, and it is at this moment, experiencing his journey with a child in each hand, knowing that he/we are on the precipice of more fire, more losses, when he chooses love, anyway, that I felt utterly moved.
Williams is the author of six collections, including The Drowning House (Elixir Press Poetry Award), As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize, University of Nebraska Press), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). A twenty-six-time Pushcart nominee, he is the winner of numerous awards, including the Wabash Prize for Poetry, Philip Booth Award, Phyllis Smart-Young Prize, and Laux/Millar Prize. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and founder of the Caesura Poetry Workshop series.
Williams will receive a standard publishing contract, 25 author copies of the book, and a $1500 honorarium. Scale Model of a Country at Dawn is scheduled to be published in January, 2022.