Water Gwisin Saves the Earth: A Chapbook by Maria S. Picone


Salamander is thrilled to present Water Gwisin Saves the Earth, a chapbook by Maria S. Picone.


Maria S. Picone is the 2023 Louisa Solano Memorial Emerging Poet Award winner. Generously funded by Suffolk University’s Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Fund, this award is given retroactively to a poet who has not published more than one full-length poetry collection at the time of their publication in Salamander. This award is named in honor of Louisa Solano, former owner of Cambridge’s Grolier Poetry Bookshop and a champion of poets and literary magazines. The award includes a monetary prize, a reading with the judge of the contest, and the publication of a chapbook of original work on Salamander's website.


The inaugural judge of the Solano Award was Rajiv Mohabir, who said this of Maria's work in Salamander Issue #55: Maleficent” has stayed with me during the entire process of reading the poems in Salamander 54 and 55 for its use of sections, its seeded closure, and for its ruminations on language—specificity and shades of nuance. The poem requires the reader to think in and make associations between the textures of language (Spanish, Latin, and Korean) other than and including the creolized tongue that is English. The play of “made-bad” “making bad” or “bad-doer” illustrates the many ways that the speaker feels for truth in linguistic realization to learn there is no truth, just feeling; prayer has no primary language. From the first section the reader learns as the speaker learns and by the fourth section, after Mary’s Magnificat in Latin, the reader has made an emotional journey into the rezar / razor prayer. 



Find Maria's chapbook, Water Gwisin Saves the Earth, here.


Maria S. Picone /수영 is a queer Korean American adoptee who won Cream City Review’s 2020 Summer Poetry Prize and Salamander’s Louisa Solano Memorial Emerging Poet Prize. She has three forthcoming chapbooks in 2024 and 2025: Anti Asian Bias, Adoptee Song (Game Over Books), and This Tenuous Atmosphere (Conium). Maria was published in Best Small Fictions, Vestal Review, Orca, Reckoning, Cherry Tree, and more. She has received support from Juniper, Hambidge, Clarion West, the South Carolina Arts Commission, Lighthouse, GrubStreet, Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, and Tin House Writers Workshop. She is Chestnut Review’s managing editor, and edits at Uncharted, The Seventh Wave, and Foglifter. She holds an MFA from Goddard College. Website: mariaspicone.com; socials: @mspicone.

To Water
Salamander Fiction Contest 2023 Results