Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winners of the Graduate Creative Writing Awards


The Frank Waters Award in Fiction was judged by writer Darlin’ Neal, who read here earlier this semester.

First Prize: Emily Haymans, "Tagalongs"

Judge’s Citation: This story is so felt.  There is so much longing. I
feel with the narrator and her beautiful observations.  This writer
made such lovely intuitive movements from scene to scene.  I will
remember this character and the place she lives.  I will remember her
missing Gimby because I shared that longing as I read along.

Second Prize: Barry Pearce, "Accidents"  

Judge’s Citation: What a marvel this writer has created: a character
who is willing the action of the story even as he feigns
unconsciousness on a hospital bed.  I thought the story's movement
came full circle.  I was so very touched by Izzy's plight.  I felt
bonded with him somehow.  I wanted, with him, for his father to reach
out.  I like this story.  I also think the writer should write this
novel.  I'd read it.

Third Prize: Paul French, "Nod"  

Judge’s Citation: Such fine dialogue and sense of place in this piece.  This
writer has a fine gut for action indeed.  Travis isn't someone I'd
think I'd care about but the keen attention to his visceral
experience, the keen attention and immersion in his sadness and the
way he himself is trapped by his own wayward path, well, all of those
things made me care.

Oh, and then the hard, hard decisions of what not to choose for final
three!  But here is a list of honorable mentions and I'm happy to give
feedback if the students would like it.

Honorable Mention

"Dinesh In Switzerland" – Gautam Emani

"Black Mirror" – Sessily Watt

"A Homecoming" – Philip Johnson

"Parallel Parking" – Christopher Rosenbluth

The Keith Wilson/Joe Somoza Poetry Prize was judged by poet John Chavez, who will read at NMSU in the spring semester of 2013.

First Place – Jacqueline Wang
“Willow Sisters,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: Attuned to the evocations of sight and sound, it is in “St. Anthony’s Fire” we readers feel addressed: “For you, I floated my glowing foot down the river to where you stood.” It’s into this space, the physical and psychic landscapes of this collection of poems, that we’re invited and asked to embrace the persona’s honesty.  With this in mind, we witness the “unwritten book” being intensely imagined and written, and as we do we become aware of the engagingly distinctive character of this poet’s craft.

Second Place – Laura Terry
“Alligator Alley,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: With the kind of tone that would make any southern musician proud, this collection of poems is an occasion for movement to happen, to Everglades City to the Micosukee Reservation and elsewhere, but in our travels were let into the stories that populate this persona(e)’s life and lives. And what jumps, though very different in location and point of view, is what the “ocotillo” and “yucca” tell us: this is a poet engaged with the world, neither separate from the world, nor recluse, simply in it and taking measure of every note.

Third Place – Robert Houghton
“for the impossible. Latent voyeurism on the peek. A ghost,” et al.

Judge’s Citation: This collection of poetry dares to make a world contingent upon the disjunctive for its oddness, and yet cohesiveness for its familiarity, and it does so to allow the reader to enter, to feel decentered but centered enough to live among the details. How then to square the seeming disparity? Experience the poems as they are meant, as Lowell reminds, to be experienced. Bring oneself to the language and let go.

The Ruth Scott Academy of American Poets Prize was also judged by John Chavez.

Winner – Nathan Taylor
“New Skin”

Judge’s Citation: I found myself with my ear close to these poems, listening to their music, engaging with their meditations, and in so doing I sat “deep as I” could “in the soul’s deep valley” as well. As each accumulating detailed unfolded I felt pulled into the poems and understood this is a poet who wants readers to feel “a small voice that licks / around the moon of / the ear” but only because the intimacy of poetry can set one on a path, as these poems are indicative, of personal inquiry.

Congratulations again to everyone!

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