2010 Cohen Awards: Adrian Blevins & Andria Nacina Cole

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Each year, we honor the best poem and short story published in Ploughshares with the Cohen Awards, wholly sponsored by our longtime patrons Denise and Mel Cohen. The winners, selected by our advisory editors and staff readers, each receive a cash prize of $600. The 2010 Cohen Awards for work published in Ploughshares in 2009, Volume 35, go to Adrian Blevins and Andria Nacina Cole.

The award will be announced officially in the Fall 2010 issue guest-edited by Jim Shepard. Until then, here’s a look at our winners:

adrian blevins.jpgAdrian Blevins’s Live from the Homesick Jamboree was released by Wesleyan this fall. The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003) won the 2004 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Blevins is also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award for The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes, and the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

An excerpt from her Cohen Award-winning poem “The Waning,” first published in the Winter 2009-10 issue edited by Tony Hoagland:

When you’re sixteen with pristine nipples it’s hard to imagine
you’ll go a little bit blind one morning years later trying to read a bottle

Andria Nacina Cole.jpgAndria Nacina Cole has published short stories in Urbanite, Sensations Magazine, and Fiction Circus, among others. She is the recipient of grants from Maryland State Arts Council and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. She is the founder of the Flanked Women’s Writers Conference.

An excerpt from her Cohen Award-winning story “Leaving Women,” first published in the Spring 2009 issue edited by Eleanor Wilner:

Now Tommy, handsome as he was, was barely the shade of an almond. And Trecie, if you blinked, might not qualify for a color at all – she was so fair the trail left by her veins could be followed across her forehead. A child of theirs might’ve been a peanut color, might’ve even managed a honey-brown, but the two most certainly could not have produced Dee’s almost-purple hue. And Dee, with all her flaws and all her youth, was no fool. She could read two, three chapter books in a day, this girl. Was a magician with numbers – they folded in her hands and became soft slits of easy.