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Rachel Rinehart Wins 2016 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry

Rachel Rinehart Wins 2016 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry

McNeese State University’s Master of Fine Arts program has another winner - Rachel Rinehart, a 2014 MFA graduate, has won the national 2016 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry book contest sponsored by the Creative Writing Program at California State University, Fresno.

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.”