May 1, 2008    #039
Contact: Wandra Green

John Ciardi Prize for Poetry won by Bonnell – winner with “a magic touch” Book published by UMKC’s BkMk Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) BkMk Press announces the June 23, 2008, publication of “Airs & Voices,” poems by Paula Bonnell. The book won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and was selected by poet Mark Jarman. It has received advance praise from fellow poets Maxine Kumin, Richard Wilbur, and X. J. Kennedy, who writes, “Paula Bonnell has a magic touch ...”

Jarman writes in the book’s foreword, “The voice in “Airs & Voices” by Paula Bonnell is fresh and original. Though the poet never labors to be significant, even the slightest poem lingers in memory. Wallace Stevens’ thoughtfulness is present, but so is his playfulness. Kenneth Koch’s playfulness is here, but so is his thoughtfulness. Whether speaking as various snowmen in ‘New Song’ or as parts of a household in ‘Domestic Opera,’ the poet finds just the right expression for the subject, with a warmth and good humor that are in short supply nowadays.”

Bonnell also is author of the poetry collection “Message.” She has received awards from “Poet Lore,” a narrative-poetry prize selected by Albert Goldbarth; “Kalliope;” “Negative Capability;” and the Chester H. Jones Foundation. She has received the NEA/PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize and has been a PEN New England Discovery writer.

Her essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor and Philadelphia Inquirer. Bonnell lives in Boston.

For more information about “Airs & Voices,” contact Ben Furnish at BkMk Press,, or 816-235-2558.

BkMk Press was founded in 1971 and became part of UMKC in 1983. Financial assistance for BkMk Press is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, UMKC and private donations.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban engagement.


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