The Gell Prize

Roz Spafford’s first book of poems, Requiem, won the 2008 Gell Poetry Prize from Writers & Books, in a competition judged by poet Carl Dennis. Dennis writes in the Foreword to Requeim, “All the poems in Requiem may be read as attempts to confront the presence of death in our lives, to engage the subject directly without melodrama and without evasion. What is remarkable about this steady focus, which offers no easy consolations, is that it leads to a book that is more challenging than it is querulous or elegiac. As the poems acknowledge the fragility of what we love, they exhibit a countervailing creative energy that expresses itself through forceful definition, a wide range of reference, and a rhythmic line that suggests a speaker who is deeply engaged in telling the truth.”

The Gell Prize is named after Kenneth and Geraldine Gell of Rochester NY.  In 1988 Dr. and Mrs. Gell donated their home and property to Writers & Books. Today, The Gell Center serves as a writer’s retreat, conference center and annex for the classes and programs offered by Writers & Books. The Gell Center continues the mission of nurturing lifelong learning and respect for nature that were essential values in the lives of Dr. and Mrs. Gell.