By Rebecca Lauck Cleary
The Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry celebrates the diversity of Southern verse and encourages new works. As Morris said, “… words make experience last.” Poets will be challenged and inspired by this opportunity to reveal the South, as they have done over centuries.
For winning the poetry award, Garduno receives $2,500. His work can be read in more than 50 literary magazines. He is a finalist in the 2020-21 Tennessee Williams and New Orleans Writing Contest, and lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wife, Nahemie, and young son, Dylan.
“It feels fantastic to have people reading my work and recognizing it,” Garduno said. “Thank you to everyone involved, including, you know, all the judges and all the people on the other side of the award. It’s great to be a part of this world.”
Susan Kinsolving, a poet whose four books have drawn critical acclaim, served as judge for the more-than-200 poetry entries.
“Christian Garduno’s expansive poem ‘Southern Horses’ gallops through the South, detailing ‘delicious excess’ with stops in Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia and Florida,” Kinsolving said. “His wild ride takes the reader on an exhilarating poetic journey that is full of insight, energy, eccentricity and revelation.”