Flower Conroy’s poems present the reader with a swarm of mysteries that are lush, compelling, and impossible to forget. From the surreal turns of "Dear Blue Comb," which shares with us, "A feast, ultimately, of nothing / but which feeds me. Wanting, / not wanting," to a series of poems mingling snakes and hearts, Conroy’s poetry revels in the possibilities of syntax, provoking both the ear and the eye.

Equally adept with the couplet, the brief end-stopped block of verse, and beyond, Conroy conjures images we never knew we were capable of witnessing, as in "Matrix of a Serpentarium Heart," with, "What answer to the red elixir, flame on its side. / The lamp to stone: to need; how longing is mapped."

It was an honor to consider these poems for the Radar Poetry Coniston Prize, and I know readers will be as awestruck by them as I have been. 

—Mary Biddinger, Contest Judge