May 22, 2001
Whitworth Professor Awarded Prestigious Poetry Prize
The image of a table is an important symbol that can suggest presence and absence, family, community, and different kinds of nourishment, says Whitworth College Associate Professor of English Laurie Lamon, who has been awarded a Pushcart Prize for her poem, Pain Thinks of the Beautiful Table.
The poem's opening reads: "the way water looks up Pain thinks of the beautiful table/ surrounded by light Pain thinks of glass & cup iridescence/ & afterwards paper & mouth the wall Pain is used to craving"
Lamon's poem will be included in Pushcart's 26th annual anthology, The Pushcart Prize 2002: Best of the Small Presses, to be published by Pushcart Press. The latest installment of what has become the most praised literary series in America, the book will include about 60 short stories, poems and essays selected from 5,000 works that were nominated by Pushcart Press staff, contributing editors, and hundreds of small presses.
Pain Thinks of the Beautiful Table was nominated for the award by Martin Lammon, editor of Arts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture, which featured the poem in its fourth issue. Lamon was nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in 2000 for poems that were printed in Poetry Northwest.
"I'm very honored, and I'm grateful to the editors of the small presses where my work has appeared," Lamon says. "Their efforts to keep these extremely valuable journals ongoing in the face of increasing financial isolation are heroic."
Winner of the Publishers Weekly Carey-Thomas Award, The Pushcart Prize anthology was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, which calls it "The single best measure of the state of affairs in American literature today." The Pushcart Prize has included works from such previous winners as Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford and John Updike.
Pain Thinks of the Beautiful Table is part of a cycle of more than 30 poems Lamon has written using the persona "Pain" as a device through which to explore various elements of human pain and experience. Two of the poems are closely autobiographical about Lamon's experience with chronic pain; the rest delve into broader historical psychological, sociological, and religious areas of human experience.
"There are many kinds of hunger which can surround a table, such as physical, emotional or spiritual hunger," Lamon says. "That is what I wanted to explore in Pain Thinks of the Beautiful Table."
Lamon began the first poem in the cycle in 1996. Since then, 12 of the 30 have been published, including two in The New Republic, one forthcoming in August in the 30th anniversary issue of Ploughshares, edited by Donald Hall, and three forthcoming this fall in The Colorado Review, edited by Jorie Graham.
A 1978 graduate of Whitworth College, Lamon holds a master of fine arts from the University of Montana and a doctorate from the University of Utah. She has taught in the Whitworth English Department since 1985. In the past two years Lamon has published more than 20 poems in journals and magazines including The Atlantic Monthly, Arts & Letters Journal of Contemporary Culture, Poetry Northwest, Willow Springs, and Primavera.
Laurie Lamon, associate professor of English, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or email@example.com.