The collection of poems spans over 10 years and came together while she and husband, novelist James Braziel, were building their glass cabin in the Remlap community.
For winning the contest, Braziel received a $2,000 cash award, plus publication and distribution of her book by Anhinga Press. The prize-winning book is expected to make its debut in late 2018 or early 2019.
Braziel is especially proud to win this contest as she truly admires Philip Levine, a well-known poet who was born and raised in industrial Detroit. Levine began working in the auto factories at age 14 and soon realized the grim reality the blue-collar workers faced each day. Through his writings, he provided a voice for those who worked at hopeless jobs just to survive.
Levine Prize final judge, award-winning poet, and Fresno State professor emeritus C. G. Hanzlicek, chose Braziel’s manuscript as the winner from the second largest number of entries (867) ever received.
Hanzlicek wrote of the winning submission:
“Tina Braziel’s ‘Known by Salt’ is very much a book of celebrations. One arc of the book is the move from a life in trailer parks to a house that Tina and her husband build with their own hands, stud by stud, window by window. It is a celebration of Alabama, with its forests, its rivers and lakes, and its creatures; snakes, deer, birds, and lizards.”
Braziel admits that her writing has been inspired by the building and construction history within her own family. Her father is in construction, while her grandfather was a brick mason.
Braziel grew up on the Coosa River in Pell City. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon. She has had several poems appear in journals such as The Cincinnati Review and Appalachian Heritage. Her poetry chapbook, “Rooted by Thrist,” was published in 2016 by Porkbelly press and she served as an artist-in-residence at Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park in 2017.
Braziel currently directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop at UAB. This workshop is an intensive summer program for high school students interested in creative writing as a career or for personal enrichment.
Any high school student interested in attending the workshop may contact Braziel online at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 934-8573.