Brittany Noakes Poetry Award, Runner-up: Christopher Citro

Christopher Citro is runner-up of the first Brittany Noakes Poetry Award, whose entry fees benefitted the Live Your Dream Award, which is given to a single mother who has experienced hardships and wants to go back to school. His poem selected for this honor, “Our Beautiful Life When it’s Filled with Shrieks,”originally appeared in Rattle, Issue 50.

I’m going to pause there a minute and give you time to read his poem.



Isn’t it just amazing? I read it to my boyfriend at 2 AM, waking him up to hear my croaky, judging over 500 poems so therefore sleep-deprived voice try and convey the magic I felt when reading it on the page. My boyfriend became a convert to the Citro Church of poetry too, even at that late hour.

Judge J.C. Todd shared these words with me about Christopher’s poem:

“Alive with vernacular rhythms and wit, ‘Our Beautiful Life When It’s Filled With Shrieks‘ meanders through complications of a global eat-and- be-eaten marketplace and fables of its past. What’s the still point on which it balances through slippery turns of thought? A notion of love that nourishes two, instead of sacrificing an I for you.”

I asked Christopher about a woman he admired, and he responded with,

“I admire the poet Emily Dickinson. In one of her letters she wrote: ‘I think the bluebirds do their work exactly like me.’ And in another: ‘Mines in the same Ground meet by tunneling.’ In looking up that last quotation, I discovered I’d always misremembered it as, ‘Minds in the same ground meet by tunneling.’ She probably wrote that, too.”

Christopher won a year’s subscription to Bone Bouquet,  which I highly recommend all subscribe to!

Christopher Citro 3.JPGChristopher Citro is the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books, 2015). He won the 2015 Poetry Competition at Columbia Journal, and his recent and upcoming publications include poetry in Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Best New Poets 2014, Sycamore Review, The Journal, Sixth Finch, Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, Mid-American Review, and Poetry Northwest, and creative nonfiction in Boulevard and Colorado Review. He received his MFA from Indiana University and lives in Syracuse, NY.

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