Ten days left to get entries in the mail for the Council for Wisconsin Writers contests for work published in the calendar year 2017!
It is with heavy hearts that we, the Council for Wisconsin Writers, join Susan Elbe’s friends, colleagues and writing community in wishing Susan farewell.
Susan, who died suddenly of a heart attack last month, was a lifelong award-winning poet whose poems and books of poetry received a number of honors and prizes from CWW and other organizations. She served on CWW’s board of directors for nearly a decade during which she created and maintained the organization’s website.
Morning, and the river
gives up its cold.
Sit. Breathe. Each moment
its own kerning.
Listen for the breath behind a breath,
the river rivering.
Light angles down and through,
green gesso of water.
The artist says on canvas, layers
of clear varnish allow luminosity—
Vermeer’s bruised-pear light.
but now, you’ve learned
light has a price.
Only shade exposes ledge
and drop-off, what light hides.
A dry stone–blue dust, chalk.
It says stay.
A wet stone—black, unblinking lizard eye.
It says go.
Whatever you decide, this day will go.
One bird’s song
can pull you from your breath.
There’s kindness in the world,
small, silver, out of reach.
© Susan Elbe
First appeared in 88: A Journal of Contemporary
American Poetry, Issue 6, (October 2006)
An essay by Judith Claire Mitchell of Madison, whose novel A Reunion of Ghosts took top prize in CWW’s 2015 Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award contest, appeared recently on the Los Angeles Review of Books blog. In “What It’s Like Living on the Green Border: On Dreamers and Deportation”, Mitchell tells a cautionary tale that connects immigrants’ plight in Nazi Germany to today’s attack on DACA and child immigrant Dreamers.
It’s an interesting and worthwhile read. Congratulations for Judith on getting this essay published.
More about Judith and other CWW award winners is at wiswriters.org/category/news/award-winners/
The Council for Wisconsin Writers’ mission — “to recognize and celebrate Wisconsin writers and to promote awareness of our state’s great literary heritage” — is highly and constantly gratifying. Recipients’ appreciation and gratitude makes it doubly so. Letters, such as two received recently from this year’s Major Achievement Award winner, Milwaukee historian John Gurda, and the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award winner Catherine Jagoe highlight that.
With permission from John and Catherine, we are pleased to share their letters:
From John Gurda to Council for Wisconsin Writers President Geoff Gilpin:
I’ve already expressed my gratitude to (board member) Erik Richardson via email, but I thought I’d use this somewhat more formal channel to thank you and the CWW for this year’s Major Achievement Award. It’s obviously a career capstone, and one I find enormously satisfying. As I approach seventy, I’m amazed that I’ve been able to make a living as a Milwaukee historian for all these years–a job for which there were no posted openings. The CWW’s Achievement Award confirms my choice of careers and encourages me to keep moving into the future down the path of the past.
All the Best,
From Catherine Jagoe to Geoff Gilpin:
I would like to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to the Council for Wisconsin Writers for the Edna Meudt prize I was recently awarded for Bloodroot. I felt that I didn’t do justice at the award ceremony to the depth of my appreciation for the work that the Council does to celebrate and encourage Wisconsin writers. When Karla Huston called to tell me about the award I was so overcome, I actually wept.
This book was a very long time in the making — I had been revising and sending it to contests from almost ten years, and it had been a finalist or semi-finalist numerous times. The process of submitting a book manuscript is arduous and expensive and I had just about run out of hope. I decided I would send the manuscript to one last contest and then put it aside and move on. To my astonishment, it won that contest, the Settlement House American Poetry Prize.
Because the book explores my experience as a newcomer and foreigner, the nature of home and the process of uprooting and re-rooting in Wisconsin, it meant a very great deal to me that it won the CWW award. It allowed me to feel accepted in this community of writers instead of being a perpetual outsider. As another immigrant writer put it recently, it’s like getting a big hug from your adopted home.
The $500 and week’s residency will buy me some crucial time to start generating new work. So please thank all the board members again from me personally at your next meeting.
On behalf of Wisconsin writers, CWW again congratulates John and Catherine on their stellar work. More about these writers is at John’s website johngurda.com and Catherine’s website www.catherinejagoe.com.
More information about CWW, its annual contests and how to become a member is at wiswriters.org.
Press Release: 2016 Wisconsin Writers Awards Announced!
For release: March 27, 2017
Contact: Jerrianne Hayslett email@example.com
2016 WISCONSIN WRITERS AWARDS ANNOUNCED BY COUNCIL FOR WISCONSIN WRITERS
Eight Wisconsin writers have been named winners of the Wisconsin Writers Awards for work published in 2016. The Council will award each winner $500 and a week-long writing residency at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. Honorable mentions will receive $50 and a residency at Painted Forest, Valton, WI. Awards will be presented at the Council’s annual banquet to be held this year on May 13 in Milwaukee.
The Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award goes to Patricia Skalka, Sturgeon Bay, for Death in Cold Water, University of Wisconsin Press. Honorable mention is awarded to Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden for Death on a Starry Night, University of Wisconsin Press.
Paula Dáil, Spring Green, is the winner of the Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award for Mother Nature’s Daughters: 21st Century Women Farmers, McFarland, while James Campbell, Lodi, receives an honorable mention award for Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild, Crown, Penguin Random House.
Catherine Jagoe, Madison, is the winner of the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award for the book Bloodroot, Settlement House Books. Honorable mention goes to Jon Loomis, Eau Claire, for The Mansion of Happiness, Oberlin College Press.
Rachel Davidson Leigh, Madison, is winner of the Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award for Hold, Interlude Press/Duet Books. Dean Robbins, Madison, receives honorable mention for Two Friends, Orchard Books/Scholastic.
Liz Wyckoff, Madison, is the winner of the Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction for “Like This, Like That,” Copper Nickel. Jeff Esterholm, Superior, is the recipient of an honorable mention for “Flaming Chevy Lodestar,” RE:AL Regarding Arts & Letters.
Carolyn Kott Washburne, Whitefish Bay, is the winner of the Kay W. Levin Short Nonfiction Award for “A Natural Ken,” Milwaukee Magazine. Patti See, Chippewa Falls, receives honorable mention for “Diary of a Bone Marrow Donor” 1966: A Journal of Creative Nonfiction.
The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for five individual poems goes to David Southward, Milwaukee. Honorable mention goes to Georgia Ressmeyer, Sheboygan.
Contest winners and honorable mentions were selected by out-of-state judges.
The Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Major Achievement award honors a Wisconsin writer for work that deserves special recognition for literary merit without regard to genre or category. The winner is chosen by the CWW Board of Directors. This year’s Major Achievement award will be presented to John Gurda, Milwaukee.
The public is invited to celebrate our state’s fine writers at the CWW’s Awards Banquet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Banquet tickets must be reserved by Tuesday, May 9.
Press Release: 2015 Wisconsin Writers Awards Announced!
From: Council for Wisconsin Writers | www.wiswriters.org
For release: March 25, 2016
Contact: Robin Chapman | firstname.lastname@example.org
2015 WISCONSIN WRITERS AWARDS ANNOUNCED BY COUNCIL FOR WISCONSIN WRITERS
Seven Wisconsin writers have been named winners of the Wisconsin Writers Awards for work published in 2015. The Council will award each winner $500 and a week-long writing residency at Shake Rag Alley in Mineral Point. Honorable mentions will receive $50 each. Out-of-state judges made the selections.
The Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award goes to Judith Claire Mitchell, Madison, for A Reunion of Ghosts, Harper Collins.
John Gurda, Milwaukee, is the winner of the Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award for Milwaukee, City of Neighborhoods, Historic Milwaukee, Inc., while Lynne Diebel, Stoughton, receives honorable mention for Crossing the Driftless, University of Wisconsin Press.
Ronald Wallace of Madison, is the winner of the Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award for the book For Dear Life, University of Pittsburgh Press. Honorable mention goes to The Sacred Monotony of Breath, Prolific Press, by Robert Nordstrom of Mukwanago.
Gayle Rosengren of Fitchburg, is winner of the Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature Award for Cold War on Maplewood Street, Penguin Random House. Ann Bausum of Janesville receives honorable mention for Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, Penguin Random House.
Matt Cashion of La Crosse, is the winner of the Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction for “Any Idiot Can Feel Pain,” Grist. Jackson Tobin of Madison, is the recipient of an honorable mention for “Kneecap,” Midwestern Gothic.
Ronnie Hess of Madison, is the winner of the Kay W. Levin Short Nonfiction Award for “The Red Shoes,” Peninsula Pulse. Nate Lowe of Plymouth, receives honorable mention for “Archipelago,” Beecher’s.
The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for five individual poems goes to John Walser of Fond du Lac. Honorable mention goes to Susan Elbe of Madison.
The winner of the $250 CWW Essay Award for Young Writers is Hannah. L. Nies, a junior at Waunakee High School, for her essay, “The Girl in the Moon.”
The public is invited to celebrate our state’s fine writers at the CWW’s Awards Banquet at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. Banquet tickets must be reserved by Tuesday, May 10.
More information about the winners, judges, banquet registration, and the Council for Wisconsin Writers can be found at its website, www.wiswriters.org.