Rebecca Pelky, an assistant professor of film studies at Clarkson University, won the Perugia Press Prize for her story-in-poems called Through A Red Place. Pelky weaves into the collection her research into her Native and non-Native heritage in Wisconsin using archival documents and images of her ancestors. Written in English and Mohegan, Through a Red Place reshapes itself from page to page, asking what it means to navigate place as both colonizer and colonized.
In their announcement about Pelky’s win, the Perugia Press said, “These poems seek the interior and exterior lives of beloved people and places, interacting with archives and visuals to illustrate that what is past continually interrupts and reinscribes itself upon the present. This collection embodies a refusal to go missing despite what’s buried, erased, or built over, much like the ancient mound now covered by an ammunition plant. An inventive collage of geography, history, myth, translation, lineage, erasure, journalism, and photography, Through a Red Place builds a map between distances and lost stories to unearth and honor the past.”
Pelky is a member of the Brothertown Indian Nation of Wisconsin and a native of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She holds a PhD from the University of Missouri and an MFA from Northern Michigan University. Through a Red Place is her second poetry collection; her first, Horizon of the Dog Woman, was published by Saint Julian Press in 2020.
About The Perugia Press Prize
A prize of $1000 and publication by Perugia Press is given annually for a first or second unpublished poetry collection by a woman. The next deadline is November 15, 2021.