Winner of Omnidawn’s 2008 Poetry Contest

Barn Burned, Then
by Michelle Taransky

To be Published September 2009

Michelle Taransky was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1981. A graduate of the University of Chicago & the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she lives in Philadelphia and works at Kelly Writers House. Her poems have been published in journals including Denver Quarterly, VOLT, & Drunken Boat. With her father, architect Richard Taransky, she is the author of the chapbook The Plans Caution (Queue, 2007).

Endorsement from Marjorie Welish

Imagine this: sentences broken into phrases at fault lines of testimony, where the words “barn” and “bank” animate the economies and concerns of our lives. Barn, Burned, Then implicates Objectivism in this imagining, to create poems of the conglomerate of bank and barn--words shown to be made of contingent cultural forces.

From “Building the Bank, Asking”:

Who called the bank
The bank of
Grave the bank
You asked for praying

When she handed us the bill her hands were
Hands of a farmhand.

It’s good to have the image in mind
At the bank
Farmed stoppages

By chance—that is to say, by the happenstance that changes lives irrevocably—are these poems wrought. (What legitimizes happenstance remains in the background.) With Barn Burned, Then Michelle Taransky becomes the worthy winner of Omnidawn’s initial publication of emerging talent.


Ethan Saul Bull — of Mexico City for (Inside You) With Narratives On (MFA in Creative Writing, University of Arizona, Tucson)
Michael Tod Edgerton — of Athens, Georgia for Vitreous Hide (MFA in Literary Arts, Brown University)
Carolyn Hembree — of New Orleans, Louisiana for Skinny (MFA in Creative Writing, University of Arizona, Tucson)
Brandon Shimoda — of Seattle, Washington for O Bon (MFA in Creative Writing, University of Montana, Missoula)
Jordan Windholz — of Bronx, New York for Ruminant [psalms] (MFA in Creative Writing, University of Colorado, Boulder)

Of the 426 submissions to our first annual poetry contest, our editors chose 50 semifinalist manuscripts that were forwarded to our judge, Marjorie Welish, who picked the winner and the five finalists.

Ann Lauterbach will judge the 2009 Omnidawn Poetry Contest (3/1/09 to 6/30/09), for guidelines click here.


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