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Shenandoah announces winner of Graybeal-Gowen Award

Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review has named Margaret Mackinnon the winner of the 2011 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Award for her poem, “Writing on the Window.”

The 2011 Graybeal-Gowen Poetry Award, a $500 prize, is awarded to a poet born or living in Virginia. This year’s award was judged by the Poet Laureate of Virginia, Kelly Cherry.

Mackinnon’s work has appeared in various journals, including Poetry, New England Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southern Humanities Review, Quarterly West, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her new work appears in the South Carolina Review and is forthcoming in Image, RHINO, and Midwest Quarterly.

Mackinnon completed the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Florida, and she has been awarded scholarships from Bread Loaf, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. For the summer of 2010, she was awarded a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. Currently, Mackinnon teaches literature and creative writing at a private high school in the Washington, D.C., area.

Said Cherry of the winning poem:

“The winning poem, ‘Writing on the Window,’ delineates credibly and movingly Sophia Hawthorne’s marriage to Nathaniel. The poem shows us their house and garden, the couple’s financial difficulties, the husband’s creative imagination, and Sophia’s serious engagement with painting and her sensitivity and intelligence. Humor, sensuality and sadness are almost equally weighted. I particularly applaud the poet for retaining linear integrity in her narrative. Finally, what cinched my choice was that I read it aloud (to my husband): the music of this poem is wonderfully persuasive!”

Finalists in the Graybeal-Gowen competition were Patsy Anne Bickerstaff, Charlotte Matthews, Matthew Blakley, Marielle Prince, Sarah Crossland, Audrey Walls, Anna Journey and Kristin Zimet.

Shenandoah will begin accept entries in Bevel Summers Prize for the Short-Short Story on March 1, 2012.