WINNER: “May” by Juliana Daugherty

Congratulations to Juliana Daugherty, whose poem “May” was selected by judge William Wright as winner of this year’s $500 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Prize for Virginia Writers. “May” will appear in the spring, 2015 issue of Shenandoah. Daugherty is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia MFA Program in Creative Writing and the former editor of the program’s literary journal Meridian. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Greensboro Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly and DIAGRAM. She currently lives in Charlottesville, VA.

Shenandoah editor R. T. Smith says, “’May’ is a deft and intimate personal lyric recounting how a woman’s ‘daughters’ daughters thrive// inside their private wilderness.’ Its couplets progress from self-effacement to ‘brightest riots’ in a moving and musical fashion and ending with a quiet flourish.”

Daugherty was chosen from a pool of 75 contestants, and Wright has also named two honorable mentions: “Sketching from Life” by Sarah Ann Winn of Fairfax, VA, whise chapbook Portage (Sundress Press) is about to be released, and “Reparations” by Lesley Wheeler, a Washington and Lee English Professor from Lexington whose Radioland is forthcoming in 2015..

William Wright, who judged this year’s contest, is the author of several collections of poetry, including Bledsoe and Night Field Anecdote. He is also the editor of the multi-volume Southern Poetry Anthology, an on-going project published by Texas Review Press.

The prize is sponsored and funded by Triss and James T. Graybeal (’49, ‘51L) in honor of her father Howerton Gowen (WLU ‘30), who had a lifelong passion for poetry. Shenandoah will conduct the Graybeal-Gowen Prize again next year. Follow our site at for details, and follow us on Facebook.

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.