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Spencer Reece is a poet and priest. His first collection, The Clerk’s Tale, won the Bakeless Prize in 2003. He has received an NEA grant, a Guggenheim grant, a Witter Bynner Prize from the Library Congress, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship. His poems have been published in The New YorkerPoetryThe American Scholar, and The New Republic. He served at the Honduran orphanage Our Little Roses, and works for the Bishop of Spain for the Reformed Episcopal Church, Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal.

The Road to Emmaus

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
2015 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

This is an open book, a welcoming one like a voice on the phone we instantly remember.

This is an open book, a welcoming one like a voice on the phone we instantly remember. Maybe Frank O’Hara has returned? Maybe the Berrigans, including Ted? What happiness to hear that good-natured tone again! Spencer Reece has slipped in among us, without any forewarning or embarrassment, his poems like faces turning to call us to follow them. Who is he? Let’s go. Whether he knew it or not, the experience of reading his poems is similar to the recognition moment on the road to Emmaus. We are glad to trust so completely. In these poems we also meet a kind of ‘innocent American’ in the best, almost lost sense.