The New Criterion is pleased to announce that Michael Spence’s Umbilical has been selected as the winner of the 2015 New Criterion Poetry Prize.


After earning his B.A. in English from the University of Washington, Michael Spence served four years as a naval officer aboard the USS John F. Kennedy. Soon afterwards, he began his three-decade career as a driver of public-transit buses in the Seattle area. His poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, Tar River Poetry, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, and The New York Quarterly; he has published four previous collections of poetry: The SpineAdam ChoosesCrush Depth, and The Bus Driver's Threnody. Spence has also been featured in Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the RangeMany Trails to the Summit; and other anthologies.

Poetry Prize winners receive $3,000 and publication of their manuscript. This year’s judges were the poet and professor Alan Shapiro, TNC Editor and Publisher Roger Kimball, and TNC Executive Editor and poet David Yezzi. Umbilical will be available in Fall of 2015 from St. Augustine’s Press.

We invite our readers to enjoy a selection of Spence’s poems from our archives below.

His Reason (December 2014)

Combined Campaign (March 2013)

Home for the holidays (December 2009)

The “Darter” & the “Dace,” the way I wish he'd told it (April 2008)

Thrown (September 2006)

Umbilical (June 2005)

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