The 2023 Gulf Coast Prizes

Fiction Winner:
 "Poetry As Occasion For Poetry" by Oso Guardiola

Honorable Mentions: 
"Tooth Skin" by Gracie Newman
"Separation Anxiety" by an chang joon 

Alexandra Kleeman, on the winner:
"Explosive, agile, and tremendously fun to read, "Poetry As Occasion For Poetry" captures lightning in a jar, throws a fusillade of word-fists in the reader's rapt face. I love the swagger with which it occupies the premise of a school of aesthetically-minded MMA poets, the tenderness with which it attends to each one of its poet-fighters as they throw punches and kicks and iambs, and especially the story's dizzying veer into fleshly perspective at the end, an ending that demands the reader admit that language is body, is beauty, is pain."

Oso Guardiola, Macondista, received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was the recipient of the Maytag Scholarship and the Arthur James Pflughaupt Prize in Fiction. His fiction grapples with the violence he experienced against Spanish and Hispanicity while growing up in South Texas, where his grade school education focused on getting him to, "Speak English, this is America."  "Poetry As Occasion For Poetry" follows young Corpus Christi poets in their rebellion against English, a rebellion Oso explores in his fiction.Today, Oso pursues an M.F.A. in Creative Writing - Spanish at the University of Iowa Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where he takes every opportunity to not speak English. When he does speak English, he's not happy about it. Here's a story he wrote in English.

Poetry Winner: 
“Ecstasy” by Cole Depuy

Honorable Mentions:
“Excerpts from Yeshiva” by Mónica Gomery
"My needs could fill a bucket—water drained.” by Allison Blevins

Carmen Giménez, on the winner: 
“Ecstasy” is dense with the static the speaker encounters as they hurtle from the abject to self-knowing, the body as vessel.”

Cole Depuy is the winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize (Binghamton University) & the Negative Capability Press Spring 2020 Poetry Contest. His poetry has appeared in The Pinch, Hunger Mountain Review, I-70 Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Summerset Review, Seneca Review & elsewhere. You can find him at

Non-Fiction Winner:
“Overexposure” by Janine Blue

Honorable Mentions:
“Ululations” by Nadine Monem
“Lost Uncle” by Naomi Gordon-Loebl

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, on the winner:
“Overexposure is a scalding piece about fear and the magnification of fear. The structure and form of this piece embodies fear itself, too. The story folds in on itself, redoubles, looms large, haunts the reader. I can’t stop thinking about this piece.”

Janine Blue lives in Illinois and is a Ph.D. candidate studying creative writing with an emphasis on experimental prose. Her prose and hybrid work often intertwine feminism, Black culture, police brutality, queer culture, and Critical Race Theory. As a Black woman, her intersectional identity is embedded into her writing regardless of the medium or subject matter. Her long-term career goal is the teach creative writing full-time or write storyboards for video game companies and television while publishing creative works.