How To Write an Acceptance Speech

“How To Write an Acceptance Speech” – I actually googled this because, tomorrow, I have to give one. And what do poets know about such things? I’m sure there was good advice in the sites that popped up, but I’ll never know, because I started writing the poem “How To Write an Acceptance Speech” instead, which was full of not-very-useful advice on a lot of things not related to speechifying, like the correct color of a roux for your gumbo (chocolate-milk color, y’know).

Maybe there are poets who like to give speeches. I’m not one of them, but New England Public Radio is giving me their Arts & Humanities Award tomorrow, so I had to shape up. Over the past few weeks I briefly considered a call-and-response acceptance speech (nixed), then a poem acceptance speech in which the words “new” “england” “public” “radio” were part of a sestina’s end words (nixed), and I dreamed I had to sing my acceptance speech (woke in cold sweat). I’ve gone through all the grief-stages associated with loss as part of my need to write an acceptance speech, and here I am, 36 hours out, finally at acceptance. I’m even excited (which I’m sure is not part of the grief-stages).

NEPR has been fabulous – they even made a broadside of one of my poems to give out to everyone at the event tomorrow. If they let me put it online, I’ll do that in an upcoming post.

Hopefully I’ll see some of your shiny, happy faces tomorrow. I promise I won’t sing.

2015 Arts & Humanities Awards from New England Public Radio

NEPRlogo2013I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve been awarded the 2015 Arts & Humanities Award from New England Public Radio (emerging artist). Big congratulations, too, to the Community Music School of Springfield, MA (2015 Outstanding Organization) and musician Andrew Lawrence (2015 Outstanding Individual).

New England Public Radio has given the Arts & Humanities awards since 2008; I’m the first poetry-only writer, second writer on the list (Jane Yolen received last year’s Outstanding Individual). Go poetry!!

Here’s what NEPR has to say: “Established by the New England Public Radio Foundation, Inc. in 2008, the New England Public Radio Arts and Humanities Award has been recognizing the rich and varied arts scene in the region for six years and counting. The award recognizes the contributions of local talent, and brings greater public awareness to the critical role played by musicians, artists, dancers, actors, writers and teachers in western New England.”

You can read all about the award and the gala and fundraiser on May 12 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke by clicking here. Check out the past recipients of the award, listed at the bottom of the page. I think I’m reading a couple of poems at the gala. There might be acceptance speeches (I’ll be ridiculously brief: one goofy look at the audience, one breathy thank you, how’s that?). I’ve already told my kids they need to dress up: you can imagine the eye rolling. “Again?” my son wailed (he had to wear a shirt WITH A COLLAR at the PEN New England & Hemingway awards last year). My daughter, on the other hand, said “Oh, I’m wearing a shirt and tie!” She’s a flexible dresser. I appreciate this.

My thanks to New England Public Radio for the recognition and for supporting the arts!