Soot, by Sam Linstrom, b. 1992
What a perfect end to my three days in Ames for the Home Voices Festival—I was just preparing to return home when I learned that my poem, "Soot of a Young Star," was nominated by Narrative Northeast for a Pushcart Prize! This news is all the more gratifying because the poem was so important for me.
It was birthed, in a very different form, in a creative writing class for Allison Schuette when I was an English major at Valparaiso University, based on a dream that I had had around that time. She helped coach me through several revisions during her (incredibly gracious) office hours, and the thing began to approach its current form as I was finishing my undergraduate education. Then I revisited it again in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment in Deb Marquart's poetry workshop, where I continued to hone it, and even more at the Sewanee Writers' Conference in 2015 with Maurice Manning, where it became a source of further learning in the context of my workshop group there. When it was accepted at Narrative Northeast, my brother Sam, an amazing artist currently finishing his MFA in Visual Arts at Leslie University, produced an original piece of artwork inspired by the poem, which was then published alongside it and which you can see here, above. So, the poem has traveled with me for a long time, and I'm grateful to editor and poet Pamela Hughes for believing in it, publishing it, and supporting it even further with this nomination.
The announcement is here.
And the poem, with Sam's accompanying artwork, is here.