Bishop’s English teacher Adam Davis has won the 2019 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His manuscript “Index of Haunted Houses” was chosen by Sarabande Books in their annual competition.
The prize includes a cash award, publication of his work, a Sarabande Writing Residency and a standard royalty contract.
“Index of Haunted Houses” was one of 850 submissions this year; all the work was submitted anonymously to the literary press, which was “established in 1994 to champion poetry, fiction and essay,” according to the Sarabande Books’ website. Sarabande also provides Educator Resources, offering reading and discussion guides for their books to teachers.
Adam says, "I've been working on the book for 10 years. Though I can't point to any specific moment of inspiration that proved the collection's inception, I wrote many of the manuscript's earliest poems in the throes and wake of the Great Recession, so the notion of a "haunted house" (the supernatural notion of which I've loved since childhood) took on new meaning as so many homes went forcibly abandoned (a large concentration of which resided in the Inland Empire, where I spent my undergraduate years). As the collection grew, a number of poems began to explore the idea of corporations or industries as language and the way our common lexicon leans heavily on this language to define our day-to-day existence (think Hoover = vacuum or Google = search or Polaroid = photograph). In writing on this, I was confronted with how much of my own life--and all the nostalgia I hold for it--is defined by branding and how that nostalgia is both fully authentic and a third-party construct (not unlike my beloved Levi's). So, in short, it's a book about possession and being possessed and everything that those words suggest about our experience as modern Americans."
Department chair Gary Hendrickson notes, “This brings great honor to Adam and the School.”
The Bishop’s School is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory day school for students in grades six through twelve who live throughout San Diego County. Founded in 1909, the School is affiliated with the Episcopal church.