Last Friday, Peach was pleased to publish the winner of the inaugural Peach Gold in Poetry Prize, “Saint Ann’s” by Janea Kelly. Guest judge Morgan Parker described the winning poem as “What I love about this poem is it’s full, exciting, vernacular, exploratory, meandering, and strange. In fact, at first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But I’m excited about this poet’s potential and I respect this poem’s playful ambition. What won me over was the way dissonant themes blurred and overlapped, as in: ‘I should beg God for forgiveness to get to heaven / so I can ask my dead dad his preexisting conditions’; the humor of God’s on that Milky Way extra twee s***, of course’ against the strange language of lines like ‘I’m both wretch and Jupiter-ruled’ and you awake to a neon / sign outside of the gate that says ‘WE BUY GOLD.’” Kelly’s poem, split into two distinct halves, is an exploration of faith and the possibilities held within an open heart. There is a playfulness and humor at work in Kelly’s lines, even when they veer into darker territory in passages like “It’s God who calls the grave robbers / and tells them about your four gold teeth and 24k / name plate.” This is a poem that clings fiercely to a personal identity in the face of grand, unknowable questions. Kelly is speaking to a nun, a lover, and God with the same amount of grace and vulnerability. “God’s holding you at the threshold and says you’ll always belong / no matter where you’re going.” “Saint Ann’s” is about the search for peace, presented in a voice that is damn sure it can be found. —MATTHEW BOOKIN
“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact the editors at email@example.com.