International Book Award Announcement

Dear October by Mary Morris

Congratulations to Mary Morris for her poetry book, Dear October, being selected as a Finalist in Poetry for the 2021 National Book Award. From all of us here at Texas Review Press, we want to give a big congratulations to Mary Morris and all the other winners and finalists of this year’s award!

The poems of Dear October chronicle the evolution of the natural world and a daughter caring for her mother during the last year of her life. Months of the final year act as the scaffolding for the collection, as they reflect on the twelve moons. the spirit of home, family, and mother-daughter relationship intertwine with the diversity of the culture and ecology in northern New Mexica. Dear October is a fathering of poems on the intimacy of caring for a dying parent at home, while being acutely aware of the progression of time and the natural world. The poems were often the way the author prepared for loss–written through events, memory, landscape, myth, and dreams. The writing regards a childhood in Oklahoma but mostly celebrates the diverse landscape and cultures of New Mexico.

“How do we measure the space or seasons between mothers and daughters? Dear October is a confession of how. Mary Morris has written poems that resuscitate the reader, by breathing life and love back into air. Her poems are ceremonies, from the bathing of the body to the cutting of another’s hair. This is a book of instructional intimacy, the last shared moments between mother and daughter. The months before dying. The journey that reveals what Morris calls ‘the trapeze of the body forever slipping from the circus of the living.’”

—E. Ethelbert Miller, Editor of Poet Lore

Mary Morris’s poems appear in Poetry, Poetry Daily, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, The Massachusetts Review, and numerous other literary journals. She received the Rita Dove Award, the New Mexico Discovery Award in Poetry, and the 2019 Mountain West Prize in poetry from Western Humanities Review. She is the author of Enter Water, Swimmer and Dear October.

Check out the other winners and finalists of this year’s International Book Awards here!

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