Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two University of New Orleans MFA Candidates Receive Regional Writing Awards

Two graduate students in the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop recently received awards at the 2013 Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers Conference.

Carrie Chappell, a Master of Fine Arts candidate with a focus in poetry, and Brenda Quant, an MFA candidate with a focus in creative nonfiction, were honored.

Chappell, who serves as associate editor for Bayou Magazine, was honored for her poem, "This is For the Safety of Mannequins and You." Her poems have previously appeared in Boxcar Poetry Review, Bateau Press, DIG Baton Rouge, The Offending Adam and Thrush Poetry Journal. New work appears or is forthcoming in Evening Will Come and Iowa Review.

"If poetry is about control, is about the difference between line and line break, the space we find holy at the end of each breath, then "This is for the Safety of the Mannequins and You" is blisteringly accurate," wrote GCACWT Poetry Contest Judge Gary McDowell in his commentary. "The line, from the opening monostich to the controlled motion of the long and short couplets, means mimetically here—the poem creates its world bilaterally through its form and content.

"The poet writes: 'Sometimes, she thought, words boil to the ear, and sometimes / they bury what's alive.' This poem is alive, and its craft exemplifies exactly what it means to breathe in and breathe out and thump along "for the safety of."

Quant, who is a graduate student and member of the nonfiction concentration program at UNO, won for "Everyday Ekphrasis." The native New Orleanian was awarded an Artist Fellowship in 1991 from the Louisiana Division of the Arts for her creative nonfiction. Her publications include work in Negative Capability, the Shooting Star Review and the Other Side Magazine.

"'Everyday Ekphrasis' combines segmentation, a lively intellect, and humor to create a series of glimpses at the art of the quotidian. Some of the art is, in fact, art, and the passage about the exhibit was among the strongest," said GCACWT Nonfiction Judge Donna Steiner in her commentary. "The tone of the essay is quite appealing as well. There's something about the writer that suggests she gets a kick out of herself. I usually think of this as intelligent humor, and appreciated it in this essay."