I got notice this week that I have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes in poetry.
The first notice came from Relief: A Quartlery Christian Expression, a quarterly print journal that focuses on spiritual writing. I submitted to them on the recommendation of my good friend Juditha Dowd, who herself had been published in Relief and though it might present a good opportunity for some of my Imprimatur poems. I was skeptical, as Relief‘s own title indicated it was more Christian-centered than I might be comfortable with. But I trust Juditha, and sent them three poems: “Magnificat,” an unsettling take on the Immaculate Conception; “The Faithful,” inspired by the release of Mother Teresa’s journals; and “The Shunammite Visits Elisha,” one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament about a mother who is unafraid of asking the universe for her child. I was amazed that they took all three poems, and did a beautiful job with the layout and production. Even more amazing, though, is that they chose to nominate “Magnificat,” which is fairly irreverent and in which I attempted to explore the idea that the Immaculate Conception could have been a product of sexual exploration, voyeurism and assault, not a miracle. But I’m honored, and I’m realizing every day that although I encounter people who frustrate me while wearing the label “Christian,” there are others wearing the same label who are seeking to change the perception of Christians as narrow-minded.
The second notice came from Apparatus Magazine, an online journal that came to fruition this year. I have already blogged about my initial appearance there, and I still continue to love this journal – Adam Hart’s eye for exciting poetry is keen, and he has yet to disappoint. I was thrilled a few weeks ago when Adam nominated “Martha Stewart Claims She Has Been Struck By Lightning Three Times” for a Dzanc Books Best of the Web award, and he’s now nominated the same poem for a Pushcart. “Martha Stewart” was a weird little poem, the product of NaPoMo on a day when I had little inspiration. I was whining to Donna about how I didn’t know what to write about for the day, and she tossed me a headline – which ultimately became the title of the poem. It’s a piece that is pretty well-received in readings, I think in part because it’s such a strange approach to the topic of lightning strikes (and also maybe because I always attempt to read the poem in Martha-Stewart-voice, but lose it about halfway through the first stanza).
In any event, I am honored and pleased to have found such wonderful homes for my little poems, and I’m incredibly grateful to the editors at both Relief and Apparatus for their support of my work.