2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize

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Danielle Badra has been named the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize for her collection Like We Still Speak, which will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in the fall of 2021.

Badra, who is of Syrian and Lebanese heritage, was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan and currently resides in Virginia. An alumna of the M.F.A. program at George Mason University, she is a management analyst and technical writer.

Her poetry has been published in Mizna, The Greensboro Review, Bad Pony, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Duende, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Outlook Springs.

Series editors Hayan Charara and Fady Joudah said of this year’s selection: “Danielle Badra’s poems strive to make sense of that most present yet often elusive condition — being human — and she does so with insight, grace, and originality. Her attention to grief is polyphonic. The voices of those lost to her become voices we embrace. We’re thrilled to help her bring this book into the world.”

Each year the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize awards publication to a first or second book of poetry by a writer of Arab heritage. The prize is supported by the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas. It is named for Lebanese poet, essayist, and visual artist Etel Adnan, described by the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States as “arguably the most celebrated and accomplished Arab American author writing today.”

Charara is the author of three collections of poetry and the editor of Inclined to Speak, an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry published by the University of Arkansas Press. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowship and an Arab American Book Award.

Joudah is the author of four collections of poetry and the translator, from Arabic, of five volumes of poetry. A winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition, he has also earned a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Previous winners of the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize include:

  • 2020, Jessica Abughattas, for her collection Strip, which will be published this October.
  • 2019, Zaina Alsous, for her collection A Theory of Birds, recipient of the 2020 Norma Farber Award from the Poetry Society of America.
  • 2018, Peter Twal, for his collection Our Earliest Tattoos.
  • 2017, Jess Rizkallah, for her collection the magic my body becomes