As the contest winner, Rinehart was awarded $2,000 and the publication of her first book, “The Church in the Plains,” by the contest’s co-sponsor, Anhinga Press. Her book was chosen from 815 submissions.
Originally from Chuckery, Ohio, Rinehart is currently a visiting assistant professor at Marshall University, where she teaches English composition and poetry.
This prize is named in honor of late poet and professor emeritus Philip Levine, a founder of Fresno State's poetry writing program, a Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry and the 2011 poet laureate of the United States.
Levine Prize final judge Peter Everwine, himself an award-winning poet and Fresno State professor emeritus, wrote of Rinehart’s entry, “Her poems [. . .] remind us that the great power of poetry, in the words of a truly gifted storyteller, can transmute events and lives into the wondrous and terrifying.”
“Winning this prize is really important to me because I respect both Peter Everwine, the judge, and Philip Levine’s work so much,” Rinehart says. “I write a lot about where I come from—farm country in central Ohio—and their work resonates with me because it’s about working class people, who often don’t get a lot of attention in literary circles. It’s such an honor to be chosen by someone I admire.”
She also added, “I want to thank all my professors at McNeese, especially Amy Fleury, for all their advice and encouragement. They gave me a wonderful opportunity to keep learning about poetry and literature and both the time and distance I needed to really come to appreciate and write about where I come from.”