Natalie Scenters Zapico, a graduate of our MFA program in poetry recently received the 2017 PEN Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry for her poetry collection, The Verging Cities. The PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry of $5,000 is given in odd-numbered years and recognizes the high literary character of the published work to date of a new and emerging American poet of any age and the promise of further literary achievement.

Natalie Scenters-Zapico is an important emerging poet whose formal and tonal range in The Verging Cities is both impressive and disarming. Her voice is honest, engaging, and complex as she explores the liminal space of the U.S./Mexico border with vivid imagery that moves fluidly between Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas. At times both tender and funny, she writes so that the border becomes not just an idea, but a rich and real world. With poems that are as intelligent as they are urgent, Natalie Scenters-Zapico offers a necessary poetic voice in these perilous times.

The Verging Cities has also won the 2016 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, the 2015 NACCS Tejas FOCO Book Award, and the 2016 Utah Book Award in poetry. The Verging Cities was also featured as a top ten debut of 2015 by Poets and Writers and named a Must-Read Debut by LitHub (Center For Literary Publishing, 2015). Find out more about Natalie Scenters-Zapico and her poetry on her website.