Switchback Books

2007 Gatewood Prize Winner: Kathleen Rooney

Judge Patty Seyburn has selected Kathleen Rooney's manuscript Oneiromance (an epithalamion) as the 2007 winner of The Gatewood Prize.


Congratulations, Kathleen!


Patty Seyburn had this to say about her selection:

Oneiromance (an epithalamion) gives the marriage poem a case of vertigo, displacing while embracing the panoply of possibility when two people attempt to forge a life together. Kathleen Rooney creates a dream-state with fluid borders and a surreal set of laws that allow her to question inherited wisdom and perception, all the while converging on the altar from numerous (occasionally, numinous) angles. The romance persists between the narrator and the beloved—and crucially, between the author and language's opportunities to address the nuances and edges of commitment deemed inexplicable. These poems contain deep doubt and true sentiment, providing that pleasure-giving union of provocation and renewal.


The other finalists were, in no particular order:

  • Warsaw Bikini, Sandra Simonds
  • I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl, Karyna McGlynn
  • little "g" god grows tired of me, Aby Kaupang
  • Punish Honey, Karen Leona Anderson
  • Mammals, Anne Heide
  • The Bodyfeel Lexicon, Jessica Bozek
  • American Husband, Kary Wayson
  • Arrow Arrow, Kristin Abraham
  • A Pancake in the Shape of a Famous Woman's Head, Julia Story


  • Because of the strength of this year's entrants, we are also going to publish one of the other finalist manuscripts as our yearly solicited book. We will be publishing Jessica Bozek's The Bodyfeel Lexicon because we simply could not bear to let it go to another press! Look for it a year from now, in February 2009.


    We'd like to emphasize how continuously impressed we were by the high level of quality manuscripts we received. Thanks to the contest entrants for making this a truly enjoyable experience.


    Congratulations again to Kathleen, Jessica, and the finalists. We are so very proud of you.