Sarah Kain Gutowski – USA

Sarah Kain Gutowski’s poems explore autonomy, ambition, trust, and fidelity (sexual, emotional, intellectual), and how our relationship to these concepts transforms and alters over time. Through her writing, she scrutinizes the subtle (and not-so subtle) ways people negotiate for identity and power inside personal relationships, and she reflects the internal conflicts we experience when we consider who we are and where we belong in the world. Working mostly in an athletic free verse that has a strong metrical echo, she aims for an exactness in language and a pleasing precision in sound without being too wedded to the rigidity of form. She moves between narrative and lyric, although her latest project employs the best of both worlds: a verse play about three sisters during and after World War II. Based on the lives of her grandmother and two great-aunts, the play moves between the present and the past, between England and Japanese-occupied Malaysia, and asks questions about survival, loyalty, resilience, and legacy.