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  • Writer's pictureKayleigh Willis

2nd Prize - Nnadi Samuel 'An Artillery of Glossary Terms'

Our second prize winner is the brilliant Nnadi Samuel and his powerful poem 'A Glossary of Artillery Terms'. Read the poem and interview with Nnadi below. (Please note that for correct formatting you will need to view on desktop.)

'A Glossary of Artillery Terms' - 2nd Prize winner

Iowa tenderizes our immigrant flesh into the havoc of a rifle,

stale on a woman's lip.

language pulls me to where a female rips her lungs— dragging


black alphabet that mourns her passing away.

she mouthwashes an adjective, trims her nail till its red tip takes

the form of a loud verb. to cherish where I'm


is to add guns to our part of speech, It is to be at peace with the

waltzing hotness of a missile. the cloud— a white

sheet, pierced by a loaded projectile that isn't firework.

I wish to account for this place, & not lose my tongue

to a death-plague that shapes like this

country— stabbed onto a pie chart. this year, violence preserved


delicate life. In the next, I want to have more crime in my name.

Minnesota's temper veining through my wrist.

I love it for its other half mirroring my loss.

lady, dulling her skin to die at her own pace:

too bright to keep up with this town. each darkness finds me falling

in love with this body alive, but for a while.


rib cage of females I've known crosshatching as countries at loggerheads.

you cherish where I'm from by loving it sideways,

without the tip of a gun pointing at your heartbeat. in our palm: a warfare.

in our thoughts: a woman derailing a stray bullet with

prayer beads.

the way she pleads “the blood", as though we haven't shed more of that lately,

as if this red-faced object isn't me bullet bright, dashing my

loin to the

ground— if that's the softest way to call this body quit. I wish

to amplify my

bones, to make a loud statement. I'm wounded by the consonance of 'Iowa' mud-

breaking through my lips, as a cannon hawking a well-dressed

echo. I sustain the entirety of grammar in a verse looted at gunpoint. you survive

this country only by dodging the voiced

bilabial plosive— that goes boom! everywhere your feet touches.

All Rights. Nnadi Samuel.


Tell us a bit about yourself and writing history...

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. Author of 'Nature knows a little about Slave Trade' selected by Tate.N.Oquendo (Sundress Publication, 2023). His works aims at amplifying the marginalized voices. He has been previously published in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin lit Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, Common Wealth Writers, The Spectacle Magazine, Maine Review & elsewhere. A 3x Best of the Net, and Pushcart Nominee. He won the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020 and the International Human Right Arts Festival Award(IHRAF) New York 2021.

Why did you enter this particular competition? I entered the MONO. Poetry Competition because of its ability to accommodate diversity in voice—that sustains true narrative. It is also a platform that thrives on lived experiences of humans & numerous joy/struggle that appears to us as an everyday banal, which I admire a lot.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by life and the ever-changing nature of my environment. I am inspired by the invention of language and the use of it in retelling various experience that comes alive in a work of art. I am inspired by the blank page and seeing a line blossom before my eyes. I also draw inspiration from other renowned poets.

Who is your favourite poet and why?

I love the works of Danusha Lameris for the simplicity in her poetry. K-Ming Chang for her experimental writing and intense use of language. I also enjoy the works of Nate Marshall for his inventive use of words to create a movement in a new direction.

Congratulations Nnadi! We are proud and honoured to announce you second place winner in the 2022 MONO. Poetry Prize, and we wish you every success as you pursue your professional poetry career.

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