December 3, 2013 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
My week of many events was fantastic – people actually came to the events, which always surprises me even though it really shouldn’t. I had eight at my Leith Library reading, and the Dead Poets Slam drew about sixty people, based on a rough estimate and some frantic head-counting. The winner was W.B. Yeats, followed by Siegfried Sassoon and Norman MacCaig, which is partly why I love Dead Poet Slams because where else are you going to find a line-up like that? Many thanks to Shore Poets, the Scottish Book Trust and Book Week Scotland, and Blind Poetics.
And things have continued to be great. I knew about this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s now officially announced that I won the Mountaineering Council of Scotland 2013 Poetry Prize with a poem titled “Shabbat in the Rockies”. I wasn’t even sure it would work for the competition, since most of the previous winners are about mountain climbing, whereas this is about a Jewish family fleeing persecution in the Carpathians – which probably explains the comment that it was “an unusual but definite winner”. Hey, I’ve been unusual all my life; why stop now?
It’s particularly amusing because, being from the American middle west, I’m not used to mountains. When I’m on a plane to the states, I know I’m home when I see the water towers. But then again, the images that crop up in my poems are overtly different from what I assume about myself – I’m a cat person, but I only ever write poems about dogs; I am not particularly fond of gardens, but they cropped up constantly
The poem isn’t currently available online, though I think it will be at some point. I’ll link to it then.