about the events, successes, and people studying creative writing in Clara Belle Williams Hall at New Mexico State University.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Our dear founder and beloved teacher, great writer and all around nice guy, Kevin "Mc" McIlvoy has announced the winners of the Jacobs Thesis Awards this year.
Poetry: LENT FROM STARS by Heather Frankland These memorable poems present the testimonies of people who have nourishment but cannot put hungering out of mind, who have safety but are unsure they wish for it, who regard the transforming silences as highly as the transacting instruments of language. I particularly admire how the flow of thought in the poems progresses towards judgment and certainty, but then is broken by moments of turning back and turning deeper into the undertow of chaotic feeling. The result is that each time I reread the poems, I feel my eyes, tongue, ears, nose, skin have been brought closer to the sites of oblivion: that algarroba tree (“Apology”), that creek bed (“You Are This Picture, Cropped Out”), that crowded EL (“Intimacy”), that unexcavated city (“Crushed Bouquets”), that carcass (“Always In Front of Them”). On the haunting terrain of these poems, the reader is reminded that “we are all hungry here / even the sky eats itself / every day at noon” (“Dry Season”).
Fiction: CLEARFORK by Erin Reardon In every passage, these stories (“Grace” and “Clearfork”) expose the quiet fears – of the body’s riddles, of the heart’s resistances to trust – arising in familial relationships. I find genuine wisdom in these sensitive portrayals of the human comedy. The scenes presenting father and mother and stepmother offer extraordinary fullness; they make us feel intimately present for the crucial moments in which no resolution will occur, no consolation will arrive. What has laid claim to us will not let us go: the author of Clearfork invites us to experience the dark magic of that human mystery. I particularly admire the moments in these stories that lift us into wonder, as when the character Margaret (in “Grace”) imagines her unborn children: “Human babies never spilled from her womb in these half-conscious imaginings; they were always feline, uncurling in her arms, their downy fur slick with her own insides, mewling. She would lift them to her chest and lick them clean with her own long sandy tongue, would feel their shapes in her mouth, their angular skulls and pointed ears. Her children had pelts of gold, of the deepest black, of amber. In the morning she would wake with their taste on her tongue…” There are many moments like it in Clearfork, a complex work of exceptional clarity and depth.
Mc writes: "this continued participation in the program means the world to me: please convey to everyone there how grateful I am for the honor of reading the MFA theses."