Two Minutes of Light, by Nancy K. Pearson,
wins 2009 L. L. WINSHIP/PEN NEW ENGLAND AWARD in Poetry
The L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award was established by The Boston Globe in 1975, and is co-sponsored by PEN New England (PEN American's New England chapter). Three prizes are awarded: best book of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Winners are New England authors or books with a New England topic or setting. Previous winners of the L.L. Winship Award include E.B. White, Andre Dubus, Susan Cheever, Tracy Kidder, Mary Oliver, Kevin Goodan, Stanley Kunitz, Louise Glück, and Sebastian Junger. See http://www.pen-ne.org/news/index.html for more information.
In Two Minutes of Light (Perugia Press, 2008), Nancy K. Pearson writes about a descent into the madness of addiction, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation, and the foil to these destructive ways is art itself — the poet’s gift for finding small beauty in unlikely places and transforming it into poetry. Kim Addonizio says, “This is a book fiercely in love with the world, which unflinchingly examines what can keep someone from inhabiting that world, whole.”
With stunning imagination, acute mindfulness, downright spunk, and not one ounce of sentimentality or gratuitousness, Pearson mines despair for its “minutes of light” that provide rungs toward a more livable life. While immersed in the world of psychiatric wards, crack motels, selling drugs, even cutting off a finger, the poet, almost unnervingly, writes about sea grass, milkweed, ghost crabs, fruit seeds, and wild lilies. In “Jewelweed,” Pearson writes: “It was a Tuesday. I was drinking vodka /before noon. Outside the heat was a thorn, /the porch shade nervous, the remains of the lilies — /pitchforks.” Pearson’s genius in Two Minutes of Light is her curiously ironic voice, the immediacy of her images, and her fearless attitude.
Nancy K. Pearson's work has won numerous awards and has appeared in journals such as The Iowa Review, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, Black Warrior Review and Hayden’s Ferry Review. She was awarded the two Stanley Kunitz Endowed Fellowships at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Originally from Chattanooga, TN, she now lives on Cape Cod.
The Perugia Press Prize is a national poetry award for first or second books by women.
Two Minutes of Light is available to buy at www.perugiapress.com.