And the Winners Are… 2021 Friends in Letters Results

Hello Feathers! Ryan here. I’m very happy to announce that Brian Oliu and Tasha Coryell have announced their picks for the winners of the second-annual Zachary Doss Friends in Letters Fellowship. In a year that has been more isolating than, perhaps, we might have anticipated, it has been a true source of joy to read all of your submissions! Not only because of the breadth and scope of the exciting work you all sent in, but also because I loved hearing about the many ways you all share your time with your friends. Thanks, as always, to the wonderful folks who have helped spread the word via social media and/or given their own words to generate excitement. It means a lot and it speaks to a sense of community that inspires me to keep at it. Without further ado, I’ll get to the winners and finalists:


Ansel Bloom & Brenna Marie Gautam – This Is Symbiosis

“Brenna Marie Gautam lives in Arlington, Virginia, and works as a government lawyer. Ansel Bloom lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a family advocate. Brenna writes to preserve and share the fleeting emotions she experiences, and Ansel paints and sketches as a means to wrestle through difficult questions about ethics and purpose, often incorporating found objects foraged during nature walks.”

Sandy Feen & Rikki Santer – Emotion Bus

Emotion Bus is a series of poems written collaboratively by close-close buddies, Sandy Feen and Rikki Santer. They both have been active poets in the Columbus, Ohio scene for over twenty years and for the last four years have been two-thirds of a poetry troupe called Concrete Wink.”

Anna Bagoly & Selene Bears – The Owlet and The Cub

“Selene and I (Anna) have known each other for twelve years (in August!). We met in the 7th grade when my family moved to Missouri from Arizona. We gravitated towards each other quickly, and bonded over our love of reading, writing, and traveling. The Owlet and The Cub is a compilation of poems honoring and exploring our friendship, using the animals from our last names: Bears and Bagoly—the Hungarian word for owl.”

Yan An, Chen Du, & Xisheng Chen – Flight

“The poems I am submitting to you are written by Yan An and translated by me and Mr. Xisheng Chen. Each of the poems was translated by me first and revised by Xisheng next. So Xisheng and I are collaborators of this translation project. Indeed, he is not only my best friend, but also my English tutor and mentor as he has given me a lot of valuable advice on improving my English skills and developing the correct attitude for life.”


Air / Mail by Gracie Bialecki & Liana Jahan Imam


Corona by Kim Roberts & Robert Revere

Counting by Jolene Brink & Linds Sanders

Episode 1: Cuca by Sarah Boudreau & Mirna Palacio Ornelas

To Desire in Liturgy by Nico Pablo & Ayi Mondragon

The winning folios will appear in future print volume of Heavy Feather Vol. 12.

We will announce the formal call for next year in spring of 2022 with Jenifer Sang Eun Park and Meredith Noseworthy judging.

Ryan Bollenbach is a writer and musician living in Houston, Texas. He formerly served as Poetry Editor for Black Warrior Review in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He currently reads for Gulf Coast and Heavy Feather Review. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Tarpaulin SkySink ReviewPainted Bride QuarterlySnail Trail Press, and elsewhere. To contact, reach out on Twitter @SilentAsIAm or visit his website his website.

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