Finalist? Finalist? Finalist!

So, this news just dropped

Oh. My. Goodness! ::Commence the dancing::

Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots was named a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for the Best Book of Poetry in Texas from the Texas Institute of Letters.


How official and fancy does that sound? Very. Yes, indeed.

What makes this announcement perhaps more special is that Jan Seale is also a finalist. If you follow this blog, you know she's pretty much my hero. . Carmen Tafolla is the other finalist, who is another poet I genuinely admire. I think I'm the underdog in this race, but hey, it's an honor simply to be a finalist.

The winners will be announced on April 10th in Houston at the TIL annual meeting, and then on the 11th there's a celebratory banquet. Unfortunately, my AWP panel is the 10th, so I'm missing the reception on the 10th, which totally sucks. I'm flying into Houston on the 11th though, so B and I will at least attend the banquet together. I already have a dress picked out!

Anyway, I'm incredibly honored and humbled and giddy and nervous and more. Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots took me three years to write, and they were three wonderful years of poetic growth, exploration, and experimentation. I would be lying if I said that I was 100% confident in it; in fact, throughout the course of those years, I often questioned what I was doing, wondering if maybe my writing was too feminist to garner an audience, too cutesy to be taken seriously, too loose to be considered "formalist," too "formal" for contemporary readers. Bleh. The fact that this book was named a finalist for this amazing award helps me to know that I'm doing SOMETHING right, that I should keep trucking along, that I can keep being and writing as, well, me.

Wish me luck! I'm certainly going to need it...

And hmm... if I do win, how the heck and I going to spend that $1200?!