Judge’s Citation by CM Burroughs

“California” is a force—its minimalism enthralls in a time when clean lines everywhere are marred by grief and, yes, counterintuitive self-destruction. The poem is a pendulum, and that is how I make my way through it, from one urgency to the next in the speaker’s struggle to discover right action, rest, and resting places for the father and his own righteous impulses toward language. This narrative is a figment about passing oneself and even passing away, and the poem is wrought in such a manner that it reads as a smothering fabric, as well. “California” is painfully relevant in the world’s present moment.