I woke up this morning to the very surprising news that my first book of nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes, won the 2020 Firecracker Award in creative nonfiction from CLMP, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses.
Of course, I’m thrilled. I ventured into writing nonfiction so tentatively five years ago, and throughsmoke was such a learning experience; the process of putting the book together was as confusing as the first time I compiled a collection of poetry. throughsmoke of hundreds of tiny essays, some quite lyrical like prose poems and some more expository. It was really challenging keeping all of them in my mind as I organized the book.
Now, I’m working on a collection of longer essays about intimate engagements with art, which I’m calling Exhibitions. And I can feel how much throughsmoke taught me about working in creative nonfiction. So, even though these new essays are very different–they’re long and combine research with lyric meditation and personal experience–I can see how throughsmoke has shaped me.
You can read about throughsmoke and the other winners here (all of the books sound really wonderful).