October 30, 2013
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Amanda Sutton
505‐400‐3898 or

West End Press Announces Book Prize Winners

Nick DePascal’s debut volume, Before You Became Improbable, wins the West End Press Poetry Prize; Denise Bergman’s A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea wins the Patricia Clark Smith Prize

ALBUQUERQUE—Albuquerque publisher West End Press has just announced the winners of its two book prizes for 2013, the West End Press Poetry Prize for a debut collection and the Patricia Clark Smith Award for the best subsequent publication.

The winner of the West End Press Poetry Prize is Nick DePascal of Albuquerque for his manuscript, Before You Became Improbable. DePascal is currently teaching in the English department at the University of New Mexico.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in RHINO, Sugar House Review, The Emerson Review, The Los Angeles Review, The Laurel Review, Aesthetix, ditch, and more. His essays and reviews have appeared in BoldType, The Rumpus, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, and Tucson Weekly, among others.

The second place winner of the West End Press Poetry Prize is Carrie Conners of Brooklyn, New York, for Bring Me Some Butter and a Knife and third place winner is David Campos of Riverside, California, for Pica.

The judge for this prize was Sasha Pimentel, author of the poetry collection Insides She Swallowed (West End Press, 2001). She teaches at the University of Texas, El Paso, which will host the two winning poets in a presentation of the awards in the spring of 2014.

DePascal’s poems situate us alongside a man and wife living in an old house through the seasons. The cycle moves with the weather and the rise and fall of human aspirations. The poet speaks of his attraction to pain and death, and that is to be found here. Also, however, a notion of experience suggesting that one survives, however changed, as the cycle continues. Youth and maturity collapse into one another.

Denise Bergman of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has won the Patricia Clark Smith Prize for best subsequent book for her manuscript, A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea, which poetically recounts the arrival of Lady Liberty on these shores. Bergman is also the author of The Telling, awaiting publication in November 2013 from Cervena Barva Press. Her book Seeing Annie Sullivan (Cedar Hill Books, 2005), poems based on the early life of Helen Keller’s teacher, was translated into Braille and made into a Talking Book.

Bergman conceived and edited City River of Voices (West End Press, 1992), an anthology of urban poetry. Her poems have been widely published, most recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, American Letters and Commentary, Nimrod, Cimarron Review, Crab Orchard Review, Monthly Review, Women’s Review of Books, Salamander, Solstice, and Gettysburg Review.

The Patricia Clark Smith Prize is for a poet who has at least one book already published from a nationally recognized, nonvanity press. The prize is named for Patricia Clark Smith, wife of West End Press publisher John Crawford, who before her death in 2010 was an influential teacher and writer in Native American Studies and poetry at the University of New Mexico.

Second place winner in the Patricia Clark Smith Poetry Prize was David Salner of Frederick, Maryland, for Survival of a Sea Star, and third place winner was Erin Murphy of Altoona, Pennsylvania, for Ancilla.

The judge for this prize was Laura Tohe, author of the poetry collection No Parole Today (West End Press, 2005) and Code Talker Stories (Rio Nuevo Press, 2012). She is a professor of English and Native American Studies at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bergman’s masterful narrative, told in lyric pieces, of the transportation, installation, and metaphorical presence of the Statue of Liberty, serves not only as a paean to the work of her transporters but as a meditation on the arrival of the Lady Liberty in a land whose history she can hardly hope to accommodate. Tactile, descriptive, and wise, these poems recover part of our history while delivering us to a still uncertain present.

Both contest winners will have their books published on the West End Press list and receive a $500 prize. Additionally, winners will be hosted at readings at UTEP, in Albuquerque, and elsewhere after publication.

West End Press was founded in 1971 by John Crawford in New York City while he was a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. Crawford published the magazine West End before beginning book-length publishing in 1976.

West End Press has called several cities home, including New York, Boston, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and for the last 25 years, Albuquerque. West End Press publishes personal and political poetry primarily from feminist, working class, and multicultural writers. Its authors have included Meridel LeSueur, Thomas McGrath, Pablo Neruda, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, Cherrie Moraga, Laura Tohe, Sasha Pimentel Chacon, Hakim Bellamy, and Jessica Helen Lopez.


NOTE FOR MEDIA: For more information please contact Amanda Sutton at 505-400-3898 or at

Winter in an Old House
by Nick DePascal

My wife is Christmas
lights pinned up high
on a balcony as winter

closes around us. Our
bodies—porous as the walls
of the house—shriek

at the slightest touch.
Threaten to crumple
if we don't comply

with their demands: stoke
the fire; light the pilot;
fill the rooms with heat

and a violent longing.
Nothing is silent. Every
thing creaks or moans,

even the animals outside
hunkering down in brush.
A fever is required. A long,

cold sweat into morning.
Backs of our hands black
with soot, tears, the smoke

when the flue wouldn't open.
There is a tub but no hot water.
Wind is wicked and makes us wander.
by Denise Bergman

Visible into invisible.
the whole of her
in crates deep as concept.

Her past wrenched into pieces.
Her breath
unspooled into long
mid-May days.

She’s hauled to the hold.
Labels and lists
and a new man in charge.
Tied, hooked, cranklifted
swing off the dock,
the Isère tugs its mooring.

Two hundred boxes
one by one
pushed pulled piled maneuvered.
Three weeks, 65 men
days and nights pack the hold
the hold
while Bartholdi writes down
what’s where.
Copyright © 2013 West End Press, All rights reserved.

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