For a second year, Boston Review, in partnership with the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center, proudly presents the winners of the Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prizes. Now in its fifth decade, the “Discovery” Poetry Contest recognizes and celebrates the achievements of poets who have not yet published a first book. Many winners of this contest have gone on to distinguished careers as poets. This year’s judges include Mary Jo Bang and Mark Strand, themselves former “Discovery” winners, as well as Terrance Hayes. From a pool of almost 900 entries, the judges selected the following poets, citing formal invention, uniqueness of voice, and clarity of vision as distinguishing characteristics. The winners read from their work at the Unterberg Poetry Center in New York on May 11, 2009.

—The Editors


Jynne Dilling Martin

Repercussions of the Current Import/Export Ratio
“They smuggled turnip seeds into the new world by / sewing them in a hem. Welcome, the customs official said…”

Jeffrey Schultz

J. Steals from the Rich and Uses the Money to Get Drunk Again
“Too much to lose, he thinks, for anything else, picking pockets, / say, casually, without arousing suspicion out front of downtown’s…”


Bridget Lowe

The Wild Boy of Aveyron Stands Up During a Dinner Arranged by the Doctor
“Instinct, treasured dangerous thing, survival-sharp / and folded in the breast pocket of a loaned wool suit…”

Annabelle Yeeseul Yoo 

Bright Burial
“Inside the whale, it is as if / you have always been inside a whale,”