January 2018

Thank you to John Poch, series editor for the Vassar Miller Prize, for naming my manuscript, Dark Horse, a semi-finalist in this year’s contest. Thank you to Kathy Fagan for naming my manuscript, Moon on Roam, a finalist for this year’s Wheeler Prize. 

Thank you to The Iowa Review for publishing seven of my poems in their new issue! The poems were runner-up for the 2017 Iowa Review Award contest. The issue is a beautiful one. You can buy it here.

September 2017

I am honored to have been shortlisted for Eyewear Publishing’s Anne Sexton Prize, named a finalist for Rescue Press’s Black Box Poetry Prize, and named one of two finalists for BOAAT’s Book Prize this month. Congratulations to all of the winners!

July 2017

Happy to have been chosen by Suzanne Buffam as a runner up/honorable mention for the 2017 Cleveland State University’s Poetry Center prize. Congratulations to Anna Maria Hong, whose book The Glass Age will be published by the CSU Poetry Center next year.

May 2017

Eight of my poems were chosen as the first runner up in the 2017 Iowa Review Award contest and will be published in an upcoming issue of the Iowa Review. Thank you to Joyelle McSweeney for choosing my work!

I am thankful to have been considered a semifinalist for the 2016-2017 Poets Out Loud Prize through Fordham University. Congratulations to Julia Bouwsma, whose book Midden was selected for publication by Afaa Michael Weaver. Congratulations also to Henk Rossouw, the winner of the POL Editor’s Prize for Xamissa.

March 2017

I was once again longlisted for the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. Congratulations to winners Stephen Sexton, Caleb Parker, and TL Evans.

March 2016

I am excited to have been longlisted (for the second year in a row!) for the 2015 Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. There were over 13,000 entries this time around. Congratulations to winners Eric Berlin, David Hawkins, and Carolyn Oxley.

February 2016

My manuscript, Moon on Roam, was a semifinalist for The Journal’s 2015 Wheeler Prize competition. 

September 2015BAP 2

I read alongside many talented poets at the Best American Poetry 2015 launch at the New School this month. Thanks again to David Lehman and Sherman Alexie for reading my work and selecting it for inclusion in this year’s anthology.


August 2015

My manuscript was selected as a finalist for the Cleveland State Poetry Prize for the second year in a row. Thank you to the editors for reading and supporting my work! Congratulations to Leora Fridman and Martin Rock, winners of the contest.

June 2015

I am honored to have been chosen as one of nine finalists for this year’s Saturnalia Poetry Prize contest, judged by Mary Ruelfe. Congratulations to winner Robert Ostrom.

Thanks to Diagram for naming me a semifinalist in their chapbook contest. Congratulations to winner Colleen O’Brien.

March 2015

My poem, “Wine Dark & See Thru,” was longlisted in this year’s National Poetry Competition through The Poetry Society (UK). Congratulations to winners Roger Philip Dennis, Joanne Key, and Fran Lock. More information is available here.

New work is up at JERRY and Black Tongue Review.

January 2015

I am thrilled that one of my favorite writers ever, Sherman Alexie, has chosen my poem, WFM: Allergic to Pine-Sol, Am I the Only One, for inclusion in this year’s edition of Best American Poetry. The anthology is due out this fall.

December 2014

I just found out that Anti- nominated one of my poems, “Sufficient Amt. to Reach an Old Fashion Presbyterian Hell” for inclusion in the Best of the Net anthology. Thank you to Steven and the other editors at Anti-.

November 2014

I am excited to announce that I am the winner of Narrative’s 6th Annual Poetry Prize. You can read the poems here. Thank you to the editors of Narrative who found some promise in my new work. I am so grateful for their continued support.

September 2014

I was named a finalist in the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s First Book Competition. Congratulations to Siwar Masannat and the other finalists.

July 2014

I am both incredibly humbled and tremendously honored to be listed as a finalist this year for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships. I eagerly await the final decision, which is due out September 1. Good luck to all of the other finalists–many of whom I admire so deeply, and others whom I am now so excited to read.

June 2014

My manuscript was a finalist for Diagram’s chapbook contest. Congratulations to the winner, Jessica Johnson, and to the other finalists.

New work is forthcoming in JERRY.

Duende Softball

I spent June 21st through June 28th near Lake Tahoe, attending the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley poetry workshop. I am grateful to have spent time with Robert Hass, Don Mee Choi, Harryette Mullen, Matthew Zapruder, and CD Wright in workshop, as well as in a softball match.

Mel pitching to CD Wright

Above is a picture of our softball team, The Duendes, coached by Matthew Zapruder. The second picture is of me pitching to CD Wright. (She ended up with about five strikes, but in Poets Softball, no one strikes out.)

My time at Squaw Valley was immensely rewarding and inspiring, and I’d love to return for another workshop at some point in the future.

May 2014

I will be attending Squaw Valley’s Community of Writers Poetry Program this summer on a Galway Kinnell Honorary Scholarship. I just registered and am so excited to study with the program’s excellent faculty.

I was a semifinalist for this year’s writing fellowships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Congratulations to the winners, listed here.

New work is forthcoming in Black Tongue Review.

April 2014

Happy National Poetry Month! You can find a short article featuring me and my poetry preferences in the April 17th edition of Columbus Alive here. Thanks to Hannah Stephenson for including me in the article.

Three of my poems were named as finalists for Better’s First Poetry Contest, judged by Srikanth Reddy. The poems (“A French Interior,” “The Voice of Trauma,” and “The French Interior as the Voice of Trauma”) will be published in an upcoming issue of Better.

New work is forthcoming in The Journal.

March 2014

Two of my poems were finalists in Meridian‘s Editor’s Prize poetry contest. “Mock Chlorophyll” and “Homesick” will be published in the spring issue.

More work is forthcoming in spring editions of Blackbird, Day One, and New Orleans Review.

January 2014


My manuscript was a semifinalist for the 2013 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, judged this year by Averill Curdy. Congratulations to Jordan Windholz, the winner, and the other semifinalists and finalists.

I recently visited WESA’s station in Pittsburgh to record a reading for Prosody, a podcast that features the work of contemporary writers. The show aired on January 25th and will also be available as a free download in the iTunes store in the coming weeks. For now, you can listen to my own DIY recording job of the conversation by clicking here. Thanks to Laurin Wolf and Michelle Stoner for hosting me.

Major congratulations to Semiotext(e), one of my favorite publishers, on being selected for inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. One of my poems, “The Winchester Hauntings” recently appeared in one of Semiotext(e)’s publications, Animal Shelter, which will be included in the Biennial exhibit. If you don’t own any/all of Semiotext(e)’s titles, head over to their online shop here.

A new poem, “Miss Needles & The Divorce,” is featured this week at The Paris-American, and “If I Were the Moon, I Know Where I Would Fall Down,” is up at Gulf Coast.

December 2013

Best New Poets 2013 is ready for your reading pleasure. Visit the BNP website for more information on where to purchase your copy. You can read a brief interview with me about my poem here.

November 2013

My manuscript, Cold Holy Voice, was a semifinalist for the Brittingham and Felix Pollack Prizes from the University of Wisconsin. Congratulations to this year’s winners–Greg Wrenn and Craig Blais–selected by Terrance Hayes.

August 2013

Brenda Shaughnessy selected my poem, “The Invention of the Metal Detector” for inclusion in 2013’s edition of Best New Poets. Thanks to the BNP staff for making this possible. The anthology will be available for purchase in November.

July 2013

New poems are forthcoming in Anti-, apt, Gulf Coast, Narrative, Kenyon Review Online, Blackbird, and Animal Shelter. I will post the links to poems as they become available.

I will serve as one of the judges for this year’s Standing Rock Cultural Arts Rock in the River Poetry Chapbook Competition. Go here to learn more about the contest.

I am the recipient of a Gold Standard Teaching Award from the national education organization Excellent Schools Network. The award is given to “honor and celebrate the achievement of a dedicated teacher who has made a tremendous impact on the achievement and growth of his or her students.” I am thrilled to have won this award, and am so thankful for my colleagues at the fabulous Columbus Collegiate Academy, who have equipped me with extensive training and boundless support.

June 2013

For the second year in a row, I was one of the honorable mentions for the Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry, judged this year by Stanley Plumly. Gulf Coast will be publishing my poem, “If I Were the Moon, I Know Where I Would Fall Down” on their website soon. Congratulations to M.K. Foster for winning the contest, and to Scott Challener, the other honorable mention.

I was a semifinalist for Crazyhorse’s Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize. Congratulations to Hadara Bar-Nedev for winning the contest.

One of my favorite magazines, Narrative, has published two of my poems in Narrative Backstage. The poems will be moved to the website’s main page in September if you don’t have “Backstage” access.

May 2013

I was a finalist in Indiana Review‘s 2013 Poetry Contest, judged by Nikky Finney. Congratulations to Jamaal May, whose poem won the competition. You can find it in IR‘s forthcoming winter issue.

April 2013

As a member of the LA Review of Books Inaugural Reviewing Class of 2013, I will be working over the summer with Gabrielle Calvocoressi to write a long-form essay on the use (and overuse) of the word “poetic” to describe things that aren’t poetry—particularly contemporary American paintings and art installations. I am really excited for the opportunity to bridge my interests of poetry and visual art in critical prose.

March 2013

Great panel discussion today at Columbus State Community College’s Writers Conference. I was a panelist for the session on submitting applications for creative writing awards, fellowships, and grants. Thanks to the other panelists, as well as to the very attentive and kind audience.

I was a top finalist for the Hill Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden Poetry Prize this year. Congratulations to Mary Jo Firth Gillett, who was chosen as winner by Patricia Smith.

December 2012

I was a finalist for Narrative Magazine’s Thirty Below Contest this year. Two of my poems, “The Great Die-Up” and “Paraclete,” will be published on their website in 2013.

November 2012

Prairie Schooner will be publishing my (first ever) review in their spring issue, which is of Darcie Dennigan’s fabulous second book, Madame X. If you haven’t picked up a copy, do so quickly. 

September 2012

New writing buddy!

We adopted a new dog a few weeks ago. He was going to be gassed at the Carrollton pound, but we swooped in in the nick of time. Mr. Bumbles has heartworm and two cysts and kidney issues and isn’t neutered and has apparently never been on a leash before, but he’s a real sweetheart– and he loves strange syntax.