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Montana poet wins Obsidian Prize

BEND, Ore. - The winner of the 2012 Obsidian Prize for Poetry is no stranger to awards. In fact, Melissa Mylchreest won the 2011 Obsidian Prize for Poetry. And in 2012 she won once again, this time for her poem ‘For Jolene.'

Mylchreest's winning entry was selected from among more than 175 entries, all of which were read through a blind judging selection process.

Poet and essayist Kim Stafford judged the prize. "The poem ‘For Jolene' lavishes affection on a single subject, a humble Rez dog, with skill and grace," said Stafford. "Mylchreest's poem is an aria of close devotion, without detours for poetic effect, but one seamless singing study that closes in on marrow and breath. If evolution took two-legged and four-legged along separate paths, this poem witnesses for confluence in the living line."

Mylchreest lives and writes in western Montana, where she draws inspiration from the natural world, manual labor, history, and the incredible characters she meets every day. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and in regional venues such as Big Sky JournalHigh Country NewsRanch & Reata, and Montana Public Radio. She received both a MS and an MFA from the University of Montana. 

High Desert Journal also awards annual Obsidian Prizes for exemplary work in fiction and nonfiction, and now adds photography to its suite of prizes. A recent $5,000 grant from the Kinsman Foundation allowed for the new prize "The generous grant from the Kinsman Foundation gives us an exciting opportunity to expand our unique position as a literary and visual witness to the west," said managing editor Elizabeth Quinn. The Obsidian Prize for Photography is open for submissions through December 15, and the $5,000 prize will be awarded in January 2013. More information can be found at

About High Desert Journal

High Desert Journal is a biannual publication that aims to explore the realm—described by Oregon poet Jarold Ramsey—that cultivates "… an ecology of story, memory and imagination as much as an ecology of land, air and water." High Desert Journal, a 501 (c) 3 organization, is a voice for the landscape and the people of the interior West. Through its beautifully designed pages, High Desert Journal allows for discovery of literature and art not found elsewhere—literature and art that honors the myths and evokes the emergent West. High Desert Journal has published 15 issues since its initial release in 2005.

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