“…in terms of how your life is organized around a book, it’s a question of what kind of person you have to be in order to write that book. Do you need to be married, single, traveling, asking questions of other people, alone in your room? What kind of person does the book demand it be written by? You have to become that person.”
“Moore says her parents weren’t supportive or unsupportive of her writing career. “No parent in their right mind should really encourage a child to become a writer. It has to come completely from the child,” she explains. Besides the relative poverty most writers at some point find themselves in, the writing life also tends to be an isolated one, with observational skills sharpening at a quicker pace than social ones. I ask her whether or not she feels her capacity to observe ever gets in the way of simply interacting with people. ‘I think with all observers it’s a problem,’ she remarks…”
“The impulse to write springs from the impulse to love language, image, and story.”
“…and we congratulate our prize winner, Michael Pearce, who may be one of the first in a national contest, judged blindly, to win both competitions.”
To win in both areas of a national literary competition of poetry and prose is first and foremost pretty impressive. As soon as I read that I had to judge it for myself. Although I’m not quite stocked with literary credentials (yet), as a reader and aspiring writer, learning from the best is ultimately the name of the game as a student.
His poem “My Father’s Brother” immediately drew my attention as it pulled me for what it was – a well crafted narration, following a story-like feel to it. Pearce introduces a place where “the workmen pound and cut in seven-hour shifts” and where “the hyenas wash the blood and shit from their teeth once a month,” and then the narrator sets the dilemma: his “father’s brother shot a bank teller” something that shames him to mention. But then Pearce adds a twist, something that makes you wonder and think before you continue to read – about how his father and uncle loved the same girl, his father cheated by stealing a song for which she fell for and eventually married him. This causes his uncle to flee, to join the army, to murder, to go to prison, and eventually “come home loving Jesus.”
I love short stories but sometimes I don’t give poetry a chance so I decided to choose my favorite piece out of the poetry section. It was a challenge because I liked a bunch of others as well such as Jillian Ross’ “Ominosity” and Jude Nutter’s “Returning”.
Poetry, to me, requires careful usage of words and the validity of each word in Pearce’s poem was used to extract “a quality of fable about the poem” as Marilyn Hacker, the poetry judge of dogwood’s 2010 issue mentions in her comment to his winning entry.
P.S. I tried to find a Michael Pearce that fits the description of writer and recent winner of both the poetry & prose competition on the internet but sadly I couldn’t find him…You would think that an achievement of this magnitude would deserve some spotlight…