CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Earlier this year, the famed American poet Richard Blanco became a fan of a young poet named Karen Skofield. After reading her debut collection, “Frost in the Low Areas,” he admitted to falling “in love with poetry all over again.”
“She understands that poetry does not exist independently; it is pulled out of all we see, without pretense or artifice, and not in the obvious and expected ways either,” he said.
Blanco’s enthusiasm for the book led him to select it as the recipient of this year’s PEN New England Award. Previous winners of the award, which is presented to New England authors, include such literary luminaries as E.B. White, Andre Dubus and Anita Shreve. Skolfield currently lives in Massachusetts, but the book garnering all the praise was published last year by Austin Peay State University. In 2006, APSU moved into the book publishing business with the founding of Zone 3 Press. The literary press’s mission is to promote the work of emerging writers and to develop an audience for contemporary poetry and prose.
Skofield’s collection won the 2012 Zone 3 First Book Award for Poetry, an annual award hosted by the press and the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts.
“Her poems surprise with each turn of the line; they foray into the unexpected discoveries and dimensions,” Blanco said. “After reading her poems, I will never again look at a baby, a fossil, a painting, a key, a homunculus - or myself - as I had before. If poetry is meant to challenge and change our perceptions of the world and ourselves, then Karen is by all means an extraordinary poet.”
The book is currently available at amazon.com, spdbooks.org and the Zone 3 Press store, https://epay.apsu.edu/C20023_ustores/web/store_main.jsp?STOREID=8.
Skofield teaches travel writing and technical writing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also earned her Master of Fine Arts. She is a contributing editor at the literary magazines Tupelo Quarterly and Stirring, and her poems have appeared in 2011 Best of the Net Anthology, Cave Wall, Memorious, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, West Branch and others.
“Frost in the Low Areas” was also a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award.
For more information on the annual Zone 3 First Book Award for Poetry, contact Susan Wallace, Zone 3 managing editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.