american heritage award judge

Kentuckian Sarah McCartt-Jackson is the judge for our M. R. Poole American Heritage Award. A poet, naturalist, folklorist, and educator, she has received an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and has been twice nominated for a Puschart Prize.

Of dealing with a dried well of creativity, she has this to say:

When my well of creativity seems to run dry, I know I need to make more time and space for myself. Because I am a poet with a full-time job, I have to take extra steps to make sure I am saving space for myself. We all know that life creeps in like a swift vine; if you don’t pull it soon, it will take over your poetry house. No one is going to make the space or time for you. Unfortunately, I don’t have a secretary, so I have to set aside that time for myself. Mostly I do this through writing residencies and retreats. I have had the great fortune of serving as artist-in-residence for two National Parks. These were month-long residencies where I lived in the park and led one public workshop and reading. The rest of the time, I was able to explore, hike, read, and write without the pressures of everyday life. I love my family and my job, but time and space are necessary and precious for me as a writer. Even if I can only get away for a weekend at a retreat (even a self-created retreat at a hotel or campground), it can reignite my creative flame.

She shares this poem, which appears in her book Stonelight published by Airlie Press, 2018.

Published by Doug Stuber

Doug Stuber is the Adult Contests Director for the North Carolina Poetry Society.

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