Conway poet Dryansky wins Massachusetts Book Award
Conway poet Amy Dryansky will be reading Wednesday, April 24th at Forbes Library in Northampton, along with other Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellows. Recorder/Trish Crapo.
CONWAY — Amy Dryansky’s first book of poetry in 1999 had the prescient title, “How I Got Lost So Close to Home.”
What followed soon after for the Conway author, who has fine arts degrees from Syracuse University and Vermont College of Fine Arts, were a series of family issues: the birth of her first child, the death of her father, caring for her mother’s health issues, having a second child, and taking several jobs outside the home, including one for the Franklin Land Trust.
Now, Dryansky’s second book of poems, “Grass Whistle,” published last year, has won the Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry, winning praise from the Massachusetts Center for the Book.
In “Grass Whistle,” wrote the judges, “We are invited into a world we know, but may have never seen. Her craft is subtle, yet engrossing. Her universal themes are given the perfect amount of loft with her language, her structure and her unerring sense of the complicated simplicity of life.”
In the midst of her life changes, including writer’s block for about three years, she recalled this week, “I felt my world had changed, and radically. I wasn’t sure where I was writing from anymore. There was a sense of dislocation.”
Yet she felt a need to return to writing. She turned to the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center to study the impact that motherhood has had on other women poets and regained her creative sense.
“Grass Whistle,” published by Salmon Poetry, “is very much concerned with the experience of being a mother and my own specific family, and how being a mother in the world changes you and your perspective,” says Dryansky.
She says she hopes that her experience “taking ownership of my writing life” — and her book — will encourage other writers to persist: “There were definitely times when I lost faith in myself and writing ... Now I feel as though I’m moving into an exciting new phase of my writing.”
Dryansky’s work has been recognized with a Poetry Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and she has received honors from the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her work appears in several anthologies and journals, including Orion, Harvard Review, Alaska Quarterly Review and Massachusetts Review.
Massachusetts Center for the Book is an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Past winners of the prize include Louise Gluck, Martin Espada, Henri Cole, Gail Mazur and James Tate.
On the Web: www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=285&a=238
You can reach Richie Davis at email@example.com or 413-772-0261, Ext. 269