2022 Sandeen Prize Winner
Magnificent Errors is a collection of poems that shows how mental health challenges can elicit beauty, resiliency, and hope.
In 2005, Sheryl Luna burst onto the poetry scene with Pity the Drowned Horses, which quickly became a classic of border and Southwest literature with its major point of reference in and around El Paso, Texas. Now with the poems in Magnificent Errors, Luna’s third collection and winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, Luna turns her gaze toward people living on the margins—whether it be cultural, socioeconomic, psychological, or personal—and celebrates their ability to recover and thrive. Luna reveals that individuals who suffer and experience injustice are often lovely and awe inspiring. Her poems reflect on immigrants in a detention camp, a meth addict, a homeless individual, and someone on food stamps. She explores the voices of people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or PTSD, poets, visual artists, and people living in a mental health community setting. The author’s own journey to recovery from childhood abuse and mental illness also illuminates how healing is possible.
The poems in Magnificent Errors are lyrical, narrative, and often highly personal, exploring what it means to be the “other” and how to cope with difference and illness. They venerate characters who overcome difficulties including ostracism and degradation. People who live outside of the mainstream in poverty are survivors, and showing their experience teaches us compassion and kindness. Ideas of art, culture, and recovery flow throughout the poems, exploring artistic creativity as a means of redemption. With language that is fresh and surprising, Sheryl Luna shares these remarkable poems that bring a reader into the experiences of marginalization and offer hope that grace and restoration do indeed follow.