2019 St. Lawrence Book Award Winner

We are so pleased to announce that Anna B. Sutton has won the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award with their poetry collection Savage Flower. Congratulations, Anna!

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award and send further congratulations to the finalists and semi-finalists.

Anna B. Sutton was born and raised in Nashville, TN. She received her MFA in Poetry from University of North Carolina Wilmington and a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Her work has appeared in Indiana ReviewThird CoastCopper NickelBoothLos Angeles Review, and other journals. She is the former Vice President of John F. Blair, Publisher, and a co-founder of the Porch Writers’ Collective. She has volunteered with numerous literary organizations, including Humanities Tennessee, Lookout Books, One Pause Poetry, DialogistGigantic Sequins, and Ecotone. Anna currently lives in Winston-Salem, NC, and works at UNCSA School of Filmmaking. 


Excerpts from Savage Flower



The barn cat slinks onto the porch and stretches out across a swatch of
afternoon sun. Last night, she left a tiny, headless rabbit bleeding on the
mat. Did you know a baby rabbit is called a kit, short for kitten? It’s a
funny thing, the way we name our progeny. A kitten is not a cat—or a
rabbit, even; an infant is not a man. The sun was once something called
a protostar—an embryo born under the weight of a dust cloud’s own
collapse. Billions of years later, the barn cat is picking fur from between
her toes, and somewhere in the tall grass, a rabbit is missing.

The hand is a bird, or
is painted like a bird. See, inside
the white jumpsuit is a man pretending
to be a woman pretending
to be a bird. The young brown cranes
are learning to eat. The man dips
his hand into the tall grass and pecks
at the mud. See? he whistles.
They are learning how to whoop.
They tilt their heads back and suddenly
their bodies are reeds in the wind, whistling.
Brown downy, do they know
how in that instant, they might be
the last of their kind? How alive
we can remain when we don’t know
what little space we occupy in time?

What we called love, I call a dead jellyfish crusted
in gray-gold Atlantic sand—something children toss
at each other once the birds have carried off the poison,
long ribbons dripping with salt and venom. What was touch
is the length of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ tubercular spine.
How a park bench in November was your hand, each unrelenting
plank refusing to give. How my body looked elsewhere
for softness—to the black dirt, the ryegrass, finally,
the ocean. Middle Tennessee reached for coastal Carolina
in the bed of my truck. The tidal hush of feet in an empty house—
I never understood ownership until I left you. Then, everything
was mine. The old mattress tucked into a back room—mine. Mine,
the small collection of flatware. The rotting deck, the salt
in my nostrils—mine, mine. When I walked the shoreline searching
for the jagged cut of a dorsal fin, I found one—a six-foot shark
circling the breakers. And then, she too was mine.