Julie E. Bloemeke, a poet and freelance writer in Milton, Georgia, was named a finalist for the Fischer Prize in poetry by the Telluride Institute in Colorado on November 1, 2020. Her poem, "After Rousseau's 'The Dream,’ Museum of Modern Art, 2016” was chosen by judge Claire Blotter from over 500 entries nationwide. Bloemeke is the author of a full-length collection of poetry, Slide to Unlock, which debuted in March with Sibling Rivalry Press.
Hailed by 2020 Pulitzer-Prize winning Atlanta poet Jericho Brown as “a philosophical love poetry [where] the poet locates in the body the satisfactions of the mind” and Guggenheim fellow Jane Hirshfield as “an utterly dazzling whole,” Bloemeke’s collection has been featured virtually on such notable forums as Arkansas Poet of the Year Kai Coggins’ Wednesday Night Poetry: Poetry in the Pandemic, James Alan McPherson Award-Winner and New York novelist Christina Chiu’s Let’s Talk Books Series, The Wild and Precious Life Series, Atlanta’s own Virtual Friday Night Poetry Series with Read it Again Books, and the Thursday Night Fireplace Series curated through Virginia Center For the Creative Arts, among others.
Slide to Unlock has become an unexpected touchstone for exploring how we navigate digital connection and touch without touch during the pandemic. Though written over the course of a decade, and initially intended to raise broader questions regarding boundaries of intimacy due to our increasingly reliance on screen culture, it has become a source of comfort, community, and companioning in this chapter of social isolation. Bloemeke’s Atlanta book launch and benefit, as well as her book tour—including international venues—have been indefinitely postponed due to Covid-19.
“I always hoped Slide to Unlock might be a book of companioning, a means to navigate our understanding of how our relationships are becoming ever-altered due to texts, emails, and social media versus face-to-face interaction. I never could have anticipated Slide to Unlock would born in a pandemic, and would become a source of comfort when we are not able to embrace, visit, or travel to people we love,” Bloemeke says.
Poems from Slide to Unlock have also been featured on Verse Daily, nominated for Best of the Net by Pine Hills Review, placed as finalists for the Saluda River Poetry Prize and the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society Words and Music Award, and won the Toledo Museum of Art Ekphrastic Poetry Prize.
Slide to Unlock was a semi-finalist and finalist in multiple book prizes—including the 2016 May Swenson award, judged by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn—until it was chosen by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2018 from over 1000 submitted manuscripts.
Bloemeke has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and an MA from the University of South Carolina. Her work has been widely anthologized and appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines including Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The AWP Writer’s Chronicleand others.
For more information on the Fischer Prize: https://www.tellurideinstitute.org/2020-fischer-prize-winners-announced/
Slide To Unlock is available through local booksellers, Amazon, or directly through the publisher, Sibling Rivalry Press: