Melanie Almeder Wins the 2024 Zócalo Poetry Prize

‘Coyote Hour’ Tracks a Summer in Southern Maine

Melanie Almeder is the winner of the 2024 Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize for “Coyote Hour.” The poem tracks the rhythms of summer in a part of coastal New England where you can smell Deet and rotting seaweed, hear piping plovers call and speed boats growl, and spot a seal and even a former president. “With rich musicality and stark imagery, this beautiful poem explores place, class, nature, flora, and fauna,” wrote one of our Poetry Prize judges. “Each line sings with surprise and delight.”

Since 2012, we have awarded the …

from Decorporeal


After many hours on the road:
   Indiana and the Hell
is real billboard. I stopped
   in Bloomington
needing food. The sky
   so blue Yves Klein
could have painted it.
   I …

We Shall Rest


The elm split by lightening stands
above the bench where my father sat
the summer he could no longer breathe
enough to walk to the Avalon
without stopping. I sat …

Wool Washing


I like to wash wool blankets
in a rubber tub, stomping
as if I live on a vineyard,
the detritus of a year
squelching and puffing
between my feet. I …

To Paint Persimmons


a crow pits his beak against the fruit, the push
   and pull of intimacy an ease, a vulnerability.
   How lovely to pit our mouths
    against each other. …

The House of Two Weathers, or The Years after the Layoff


The mailman brought a Florida postcard
or a thin white envelope the weight of an anvil.

The potted African violet in the kitchen window
raised its richest purple or drooped.

The mother …