5th Annual Chapbook Contest Results
Congratulations to D. Keali‘i MacKenzie, winner of the 5th Annual Backbone Press Chapbook Contest. His manuscript, The Mana of Salt, was selected by our final judge Khalisa Rae.
Please see the judge’s comments:
The Mana of Salt is a beautifully executed chapbook with language that’s gripping and evocative. In many ways, the collection works as both a catalog of family history and research of chemistry. The passion around family and tradition is palatable and resonates throughout like an ancient song. Poems like “Make a Meal” and “Invocation” are striking and call attention to generational food traditions along with the pain and complexity behind it. I was particularly intrigued and invested in that exploration and I found myself thirsting for more. Mana of Salt deserves all the praise.
Extending an additional Congratulations to the runner up, Angel Dye. Her manuscript, My Mouth A Constant Prayer, will be published along with the winner’s chapbook.
Pre-order The Mana of Salt by D. Keali‘i MacKenzie via Paypal!
Pre-order My Mouth A Constant Prayer by Angel Dye via Paypal!
… Beyond the Ends of the World
Past the moon. Past humanity’s space junk.
Past Mars’ planet, the Kuiper belt,
Jupiter with its storm-burned eye,
Past all the outer planets
– past planetoids – Eris, Pluto, Haumea –
past (the hypothetical) Oort cloud.
Past the limits of solar wind,
but not Humanity’s imagination.
When we have slipped beyond our
system, what is carried for our new lives?
Food, technology. Plants and minerals.
The seeds of human civilizations.
I carry a palmful of pa‘akai, evaporated
on Kaua‘i and red with the memory of distant ‘āina.
A reminder that Indigenous peoples
have sung the stories of distant stars.
We are always present throughout the solar system.
Present throughout the galaxy.
I carry presence, and culture on my skin
(now also beyond the solar system)
– Tatau – on my arms
are lines from the Kumulipo.
Placed here so as to always carry
genealogy, remind others—or those we may meet—‚
there are other ways of knowing besides science.
Wrapped along my right arm,
spiraled up and out :
O kane ia, o ka wahine kela
O kane hanau i ke auau po-‘ele’ele
O ka wahine hanau i ke auau po-haha
Ho’ohaha ke kai, ho’ohaha ka uka
Ho’ohaha ka wai, ho’ohaha ka mauna
Ho’ohaha ka po-niuauae’ae’a
Ulu ka Haha na lau eiwa
Ulu nioniolo ka lau pahiwa
O ho’oulu i ka lau palaiali’i
Hanau o Po-‘ele’ele ke kane
Noho ia e Pohaha he wahine
Hanau ka pua a ka Haha
Hanau ka Haha
Tell me, as we go beyond
all we thought we knew,
have you ever tasted life’s
essentials on a flake of salt?
Have you ever chanted the universe?