2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize Winner

Taylor Mali

The Whetting Stone
Taylor Mali
Brooklyn, New York

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of poet. Born in New York City in 1965 into a family some of whose members had lived there since the mid 1600s, Taylor Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and SAT test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his twelve-year Quest for One Thousand Teachers, completed in April of 2012, helped create 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance,” an achievement Mali commemorated by donating 12″ of his hair to the American Cancer Society. Taylor Mali is the author most recently of Bouquet of Red Flags (Write Bloody Books 2014), a poetic celebration of “a marriage I did not yet realize was over.” He is also the author of What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World (Putnam 2012) as well as two other books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are (Write Bloody Books 2009) and What Learning Leaves (Hanover 2002). He received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in 2001 to develop Teacher! Teacher!, a one-man show about poetry, teaching, and math, which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival. (website)

For the 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize, we received 1,630 entries, and a great number of impressive manuscripts that deserve to be published. In order to maximize the impact of the competition, we’ve decided to also offer publication to two runners-up. The Whetting Stone will be distributed to all 7,500+ subscribers along with the Fall 2017 issue of Rattle, and the following chapbooks will be mailed along with the Winter and Spring issues after that.


In America
Diana Goetsch
New York, New York

A Bag of Hands
Mather Schneider
Tucson, Arizona

Sample poems from the authors …

Taylor Mali:
• “Magnifies an Object Ten Times” in Rattle #42
• “What Teachers Make” in Rattle #27
• “Undivided Attentionfrom What Learning Leaves
Ten more poems on his website

Diana Goetsch:
• “Nameless Boy” in Rattle #32 (as Douglas Goetsch)
• “Writer in Residence, Central State” in Rattle #32
• “Recess” in Rattle #26
Three more poems on her website

Mather Schneider:
• “Our Morning Train” from Rattle #52
• “Free-Form Bolero” from Rattle #43
• “The Mermaid of South Mark Road” from Rattle #38
Many more poems on his blog