So pleased to be able to say that last night When We Were Birds won the Stafford/Hall Prize in Poetry from the Oregon Book Awards. It was a lovely evening, full of wit and literature and friends, and I’m proud of the book and so thankful to the Oregon literary community, especially the great folks at Literary Arts. And a big, huge thanks to Major Jackson, a poet I so admire, for judging the award and offering such kind words about When We Were Birds.
It’s been a great joy, these past three and a half years, to get to know and, slowly, become part of the Oregon literary community, which is why I’m so pleased about this latest news: my most recent full-length collection of poetry, When We Were Birds, is a finalist for the 2017 Stafford/Hall Award in Poetry from the Oregon Book Awards. (And, as an added bonus, it’s wonderful to know that Major Jackson, a poet I very much admire, judged the award!)
This summer, while traveling all over Oregon, Washington, and Montana to read from When We Were Birds, I got the chance to speak with The Write Question about poetry and life and making sense of life through poetry. The Write Question, hosted by Cherie Newman, is a really fabulous NPR show and podcast; if you don’t listen or subscribe, you should!
Geez. This review. Kind, wise, a poem in its own right. Thanks, Melissa Mylchreest.
Joe Wilkins’ words unspool down the page like the highway runs off forever into the empty spaces of Montana’s Big Dry, the eastern reaches of the state where he was born and raised. Populated by chokecherry, dry riverbeds, overgrown roadside ditches, lean cattle and leaner people, his books—poetry, nonfiction and fiction—all speak of a world that is scarred, broken, damaged and dusty, but never irredeemable and never without beauty.