...I won the 2008 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers magazine! The official announcement is here. This is an annual contest (since 1984) that chooses one poet and one fiction writer from each "state"--or in this year's case, the District of Columbia. Previous winners include Doug Anderson, Chana Bloch, Denise Duhamel, Sascha Feinstein, Laura Kasischke, Sue Monk Kidd, Aleda Shirley, and Rebecca Seiferle.
The prize? An all-expenses paid trip to New York this October for a reading and--this is amazing--a week's worth of meetings arranged by P&W with editors, publishers, and New York poets. $500 honorarium, and an invitation to spend a month at the Jentel Arts colony in the mountains of Wyoming.
The call came on the tail end of the exhausting five hour drive home from Long Island University. Bonnie Marcus asked "so, you only have one book, right?" Coming off paying for my own hotel room, $40 of tolls, $60 of gas, and giving a reading empty-handed of copies, my response was "I barely have one book."
I offer gratitude to the judge, Frank X. Walker, and everyone at Poets & Writers. And thanks to my fellow DC poets--I hope I can do you all justice representing our city. I like to think that the "exchange" part of the award goes both ways...it's not enough to get my foot in the door at a press or two; my mission, as I see it, is to get the thriving energy of the DC poetry scene onto the NYC radar.
These are exciting days.