Rohan Chhetri is our 2018 Kundiman Poetry Prize Winner!


In partnership with Tupelo Press, we have chosen Rohan Chhetri's manuscript, lost hurt or in transit beautiful, as the winner of our 2018 Kundiman Poetry Prize!

His manuscript will be published by Tupelo Press in Spring 2021. Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Kristina Marie Darling praised Rohan's winning manuscript thusly: 

“In Rohan Chhetri’s lost hurt or in transit beautiful, inherited literary forms—the ode, the lyric, and pristine tercets—are juxtaposed with gorgeously fractured and stylistically daring hybrid pieces. The end result is a work in which poetic technique is brought to bear on lingering questions of identity, artistic tradition, and the cruelty implicit in language itself.  Here, form, grammar, and syntax function as a kind of containment, but also, a 'ruined field' that is rife with possibility. Chhetri dramatizes and resists the ways language, and its implicit logic, limit what is possible within our most solitary reflections, defining even those 'vague dreams' that in the end we greet alone. 'This is just how violence enters poems,' he explains, 'through a screen door / crawling & the mother asleep on the couch.'  These pieces are as lyrical as they are grounded, and as understated as they are ambitious.  'In my language, there is a name for this music,' he tells us. As his stunning collection unfolds, Chhetri reminds us, with subtlety and grace, that the smallest stylistic decisions in poetry are politically charged. This is a haunting book.”

Rohan Chhetri's first book of poems, Slow Startle (Winner of the ‘Emerging Poets Prize 2015’) was published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. A chapbook of poems, Jurassic Desire (Winner of ‘Per Diem Poetry Prize’) is slated to be published later this year from Per Diem Press. His poems have appeared in PreludeRattleVinylLiterary Hub, & his work was recently translated into French for Europe Revue. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow. Congratulations, Rohan!

We would also like to acknowledge the excellent work of all of this year's finalists: Albert Abonado, Dilruba Ahmed, Danielle Badra, Megan Fernandes, Susan Nguyen, Patricia No, Tiana Nobile, Miho Nonaka, and Zeeshan Pathan!

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Many thanks to our first readers Kaveh Akbar, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Joseph O. Legaspi, Adeeba Shahid Talukder, & Wendy Xu. Thank you to everyone who submitted for giving us the chance to read your work. It was truly a privilege.

Again, congratulations to Rohan and all of our finalists!