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Best Poet

While others just bitched about their jobs, Reece, an assistant manager at Brooks Brothers in Palm Beach Gardens, turned his workplace laments into literary gold with The Clerk's Tale. In 2003, the poem was awarded the prestigious Katharine Bakeless Nason Prize for poetry, and the New Yorker ran it on the magazine's high-profile back page. But what makes him a standout are his observations of the Sunshine State from his Lantana home. In Florida Ghazals, Reece's words ooze with revulsion and fascination about this weird place we call home:

Down here, the sun clings to the earth and there is no darkness.

Down there, the silence of the sea and the silence of the swamp seep into our muscles.

Florida is a frontier built by escapees.

We electrocute men. No one's past is certain.

Florida has no memory besides the monarch butterflies who remember everything.

The sea glitters, fish disappear like keys. 0, this land of exits. This land of forgetfulness.


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