Department of English

Laura Maher wins Michael Adams Thesis Prize in Poetry

Tue, August 26, 2008
Laura E. Maher, graduate of the M.A. Creative Writing program, has been awarded the Michael Adams Thesis Prize in Poetry for her thesis, “Stay, Stand, Smolder.”   Laura’s thesis is a collection of poems exploring female identity, familial and romantic relationships, disease, and the persistence of memory.

The Michael Adams Prize gives two awards yearly for the top fiction and poetry thesis by UT Creative Writing graduates. This year is the first time for the award, which comes with a $2000 prize.  Readers from outside the university, a poet and a fiction writer of national distinction, judge the award anonymously.  The judge for poetry wrote the following review of Laura’s work:

In “Stay, Stand, Smoulder,” which is very much a book of the body (to such a degree that the poet can convincingly if paradoxically claim, “I am not of the body” and “I am not in ownership of my body”), Laura Maher seems well on her way to locating a language of the body, whether it is “to live like a word, inside the letters, cradled on a tongue,” “empty lips—tongue-licked, puckered, hanging like molasses,” “the books folded open like lungs,” or any number of other exquisitely precise articulations of the body’s secret life.  Wallace Stevens said that “the greatest poverty is never to have lived a physical life,” and Maher offers us a poetry of abundance, deeply lived and memorably spoken.
Laura grew up in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, and graduated in 2006 from the University of Arizona with degrees in English and Creative Writing. While at UT, was an assistant poetry editor for the graduate literary magazine, Bat City Review.  Laura completed her M.A. in Creative Writing in May 2008.  Her thesis was supervised by Dr. Kurt Heinzelman; the second reader was Jill Alexander Essbaum. 
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