PEN New England & Hemingway awards ceremony

It will take me about a week to recover from this weekend – mostly because Karen Wulf did *not* present me with a seven-foot-tall trophy (kidding, KW). My head’s a swarm of bees. Nothing a little quiet time and some chocolate can’t cure.

I got to meet and chat with the other winners and finalists and they were, to a person, lovely. People with whom you are glad to be associated. I couldn’t detect any ego, any arrogance, just gratitude, joy, warmth. Jennifer Haigh (PEN NE fiction) and Doug Bauer (PEN NE nonfiction) were so kind and open. Mitchell Jackson, Anthony Wallace, and Kris Jansma (PEN Hemingway finalists & honorable mentions) were gems, humble, down to earth. NoViolet Bulawayo (PEN Hemingway winner) has an accent you want to listen to forever. 

And Richard Blanco was there! I can announce it now, since it was a public event – Richard Blanco, most widely known for being the inaugural poet at Obama’s second inauguration, was the judge for the PEN NE poetry award. I can hardly get over that he READ my book, much less LIKED it, much less CHOSE it for this award. And can I add – Blanco is the most genuine, funny, and smart person you could ever want to meet. My husband Dennis & I were smitten. 

I’m going to post what Blanco wrote about my book, then I’m going to post some thanks to friends who drove all the way to the awards ceremony, then I’m posting some amateur photos. 

What Blanco wrote:
“In her magnificent debut collection, Karen Skolfield made me fall in love with poetry all over again, reminding me of its divine power to find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. She understands that poetry does not exist independently; it is pulled out of all we see, without pretense or artifice, and not in the obvious and expected ways either. Her poems surprise with each turn of the line; they foray into the unexpected discoveries and dimensions. After reading her poems, I will never again look at a baby, a fossil, a painting, a key, a homunculus – or myself – as I had before. If poetry is meant to challenge and change our perceptions of the world and ourselves, then Karen is by all means an extraordinary poet.” 

Some thanks: to Nicole DiCello and Robyn Heisey, good friends and poetry goddesses, for coming to the ceremony; and to Ali and Jeannette Wicks-Lim for handling my two squirrelly children at the awards reception and putting up with Red Sox traffic BOTH ways (bummer). 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s