If you were following the Meridian Twitter during AWP, perhaps you noticed our shoutout to contributor Rochelle Hurt, who was signing copies of her new first book conveniently right across the aisle from our book fair table! We featured her poem “Last Chance, California” in issue 29 in May 2012, and we were thrilled to see she was also selected to appear in Best New Poets 2013, guest edited by Brenda Shaughnessy. Best New Poets is also published out of the University of Virginia, by the same press that produces Meridian, and a lot of our editors work double-duty as readers for BNP. Also, former Meridian editor Jazzy Danzinger is the Series Editor for BNP. Since we read all the submissions blind, though, it’s always a surprise to learn someone we’ve published or whose writing I’ve followed has been selected for the anthology. This year, Rochelle was one of those happy surprises.
And now her first book, The Rusted City, is available from White Pine Press as the latest installement in the Marie Alexander Poetry Series. White Pine describes the book as “a hybrid collection of prose poetry and verse that reads like a novel in poems” and as “a coming-of-age fable set in the haunting dreamscape of the Rust Belt, where industrial corrosion becomes a funhouse mirror of personal loss.” You can learn more about it and read some (wildly positive) blurbs on her website. Sabrina Orah Mark says, for instance, “In this city, the prose poem scrapes the sky until rusted clouds burst, sending rusted beauty clattering down. Hurt brings the prose poem back to life.”