Poet Laureate 2021
Paul Siegell is the author of Take Out Delivery (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018), wild life rifle fire (Otoliths, 2010), jambandbootleg (A-Head, 2009), and Poemergency Room (Otoliths, 2008). He is an award-winning creative director at The Philadelphia Inquirer and was a senior editor at Painted Bride Quarterly from 2007-2019. In 2015, Paul’s work was selected for the Pennsylvania’s Center for the Book’s Public Poetry Project. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has contributed to American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Rattle, and many other fine journals. Since 2020, Paul has lived in Willow Grove with his wife, daughter, and dog, and the coolest neighbors a family could hope for.
I found these poems the most engaging and memorable of the four (finalists). They are composed in an astonishingly nimble style, using a ludic method, in which the speaker confronts troubling matters with a disarming sense of humor and even an affinity for play, a style that communicates subtly and gratifyingly with the reader, who is moved in ways that are at first impossible to pin down. These poems enjoy a rare sense of personality, effortlessly embodying a genuinely contemporary sensibility, alive to artistic possibilities amid otherwise overwhelming waves of stimuli, ultimately able to overcome dejection and frustration with grace, compassion, and wit.