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Henry Hughes Wins 2012 Oscar Wilde Poetry Award


Photo by Paul Gentry.

Henry Hughes of Independence, Oregon has won the 11th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award-2012 for his poem titled Action.

Action “He’s big, he’s mean, and he kills a lot of bad guys. “No one cared that he was gay.” —testimony from a Pentagon report

More than grunts, we tongue Arabic and Farsi in the dusty streets and shops. Watching, listening carefully—very carefully—between straight black abayas and embroidered white caps. We’d rather talk them down, but we’ll shoot. We know the soft and hard of man. Face in the tower, bulge in the pants. Our M-16s and that nasty SAW put the queer fear in their Sharia law. Like Negroes marching on the old South, we’re a nightmare bayonet up their hanging moons. Don’t get fucking captured, I tell my men, and they don’t. Snugging green belts across our tight abs, we smarten our collars and slip on those big blonde boots. Fit in? Come on, we’re good at that. We had to be. Give us the action and we can all relax.

Copyright © 2012 by Henry Hughes.

Biography: Henry Hughes grew up on Long Island, New York and he has lived in Oregon since 2002. His poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Carolina Quarterly, Malahat Review, Shenandoah, Southern Humanities Review, Seattle Review and Poetry Northwest, and are represented in several anthologies including Long Journey: Contemporary Northwest Poets (Oregon State University Press). His first collection, Men Holding Eggs, received the 2004 Oregon Book Award; his second book, Moist Meridian, was chosen by Robert Pinsky as a finalist for the 2011 Oregon Book Award; and his third collection, Shutter Lines, was published in 2012. He is the editor of the anthology, The Art of Angling: Poems about Fishing (Knopf, 2011) and his commentary on new poetry appears regularly in Harvard Review.

Honorable Mentions:

Aloha by Valerie Golembiewski of Tucson, Arizona.

The Boy on King Street by Sean Johnson of Houston, Texas.

The Greatest Magic Act of All by Renny Christopher of Camarillo, California.

Jackson by Carol Kanter of Evanston, Illinois.

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