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Zone 3 Press’s First Book Award Poetry Reading coming Sept. 16

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Wilson, Mathew and Spencer.

ALERT -- The below event has been moved to a virtual-only format because of rising COVID-19 numbers in the area. The event will now happen via Zoom at this link. The text below has been corrected to reflect this change.

(Posted Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021)

Poets Paige Lewis, Komal Mathew and Emily Spencer will present a virtual reading of their poetry on Sept. 16 for Zone 3 Press’s First Book Award Poetry Reading at Austin Peay State University.

The reading is a celebration of Mathew and Spencer, co-winners of the 2020 First Book Award in Poetry. Lewis was the judge who picked them as the winners.

The reading also celebrates Mathew and Spencer’s new books. Zone 3 Press will publish Mathew’s “For Daughters Who Walk Out Like Sons” and Spencer’s “East Walnut Hills” this month.

The poetry reading will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 via Zoom at this link. The event is sponsored by the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts and is free and open to the public.

You can pre-order Mathew and Spencer's books at the Austin Peay Marketplace.

About the poetry

Mathew “presents us with a speaker obsessed not just with leaving home, but with being welcomed upon return: ‘The first time I heard / the story of the prodigal son, / I was in college and always jealous,’” Lewis writes.

Mathew’s poems are filled with questions about the journey, according to Zone 3’s blog that announced the winners.

“In this stunning book, Mathew lists the dangers that await us in the open world, and she shows us why it’s still worth exploring,” the blog reads.

Lewis was equally impressed by Spencer’s work.

“In ‘East Walnut Hills,’ the divine and the everyday are indistinguishable from one another,” Lewis writes. “Emily Spencer leads us through these poems as if through the wings of a living museum, imploring us to take our time and look – really look.”

About the poets

Mathew is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Diode Poetry Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Narrative and The New Republic. She is the co-founding editor of Josephine Quarterly.

Spencer earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Boston University global writing fellow. Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Poetry and Pleiades.

Lewis is the author of “Space Struck” and has had poems appear in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Best New Poets 2017, Gulf Coast, The Massachusetts Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest and Ninth Letter.

The Zone 3 Press First Book Award in Poetry is biennial and is open again in 2022. Zone 3 awards the Nonfiction Book Award during the other years and will announce those winners later this fall. You can read more about Zone 3 and its contests at its website, www.zone3press.com.

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