The Tor House Foundation has posted on its web site the poems, photos, and brief biographies of the winners of the 2017 Robinson Jeffers Tor House prize. The Honorable Mentions include Justin Hunt, Mary Pinard, Cynthia C. Snow, and Chelsea Wagenaar.
Elliot Ruschowitz-Roberts from the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation called me today to inform me that my poem, “The Notebook,” was selected by Eavan Boland for this year’s Tor House Poetry Prize. This poem, which concerns the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti, was originally written for Lise Goett’s Generative Writing Workshop, and along the way I received helpful suggestions to improve it from Wayne Lee and Steve Bunch. The prize includes $1,000 and a trip to do a reading in Carmel.
“Drought” is a poem that I’ve been sending out and then revising when it comes back unaccepted for something like eight years, and now it is seeing the light through Midway Journal in an online edition.
Elizabeth Cohen, editor of Saranac Review informed me they will be using two of my poems in next year’s issue of this annual journal from the State University of New York in Plattsburg. The common thread of the two poems is racism and bigotry. “Tent Bugs” was written during last year’s residency at Willapa Bay, “Uprising,” based on painting by Susan List, during the 2015 Palm Beach Poetry Festival.
Congratulations to Cortney Davis, winner of the 2016 Wheelbarrow Books Prize for established writers for her poetry manuscript, Taking Care of Time. My manuscript, Long Past the Last Stop, was identified as one of five finalists sent to the judge, Naomi Shihab Nye. I was floored to see that my finalist notification letter included several specific comments from the contest reviewers, both on why my manuscript was selected as a finalist and why it was not picked as the winner. Thanks to Laurie Hollinger and Anita Skeen at the RCAH Center for Poetry at Michigan State University for making the effort to provide me this information.
Michele Lesko, editor of IthacaLit, accepted a poem based on the archaeological discovery of an ancient leather shoe in a pile of desiccated sheep dung in Armenia. Dating tests revealed the shoe to be over 6,000 years old. I pondered this shoe, and the woman who wore it, and took the resulting poem to a workshop conducted by Thomas Centollela at Mary Morris’ house this past summer, and subsequently submitted it to IthacaLit. I expect it will appear in the online journal in its Spring 2017 edition.
Coltrane’s God has been honored again, this time by the New England Book Festival, which announced it was this year’s Runner-Up (sole) in poetry.
I’m glad to have my workshop on pantoums hosted by Jules’ Poetry Playhouse in Albuquerque on Saturday, November 5th from 11-2. I see it as an opportunity to share some wonderful pantoums and look at how they are made to do their magic. After the workshop, we’ll do an pantoum open-mic.