Hear ye hear ye!!
Ping•Pong Free Press and the Henry Miller Memorial Library is proud to announce the first winner of their annual poetry contest: Jameson O’Hara Laurens.
Laurens’ manuscript, MEDÆUM. was picked out of group of wonderful contestants by judge, Melissa Broder, who personally reviewed all of the entries. The two finalists for the contest were Lauren Gordon for A Vanish’d Hand, and Angie Mazakis, for I Was Waiting to See What You Would Do First.
About the Winning Manuscript
“Jameson O’Hara Laurens’ poetry is gently and carefully constructed, with great attention paid to both the sound and meaning of words, as well as the placement of those words on the page. Her poems re-magine and rework the figure of Medea, making her a woman of power and insight on a difficult journey – burdened, perhaps, by too much knowledge and no one to listen to her.
“This Medea is also a medium in the sense that she channels the past and the energy and spirit of the earth. These poems tackle difficult emotions and issues in ways that continuously evoke both Western mythology and the natural environment.
“They go beyond nature poems to being poems that are actually embedded in the soil: the narrator in one poem states, ‘For miles I spit clods of dirt/into my hands—//My insides still sodden.’ The earth is both inside and outside her. She is the medium between everything, neither ‘signifier’ nor ‘signified’ .” Christine Hamm, Editor, Ping•Pong Free Press
About the Author
Regarding the creation of her book, Laurens writes that she was already working on a series of persona poems when she discovered that the voice of Medea rang especially true to her: “I felt that it needed to speak through one of my characters.
“[Moreover,] what if we recognized that her crimes are metaphorical?… Like any enemy, Medea was easier to label as a murderess than she was to truly understand as a character who transformed from ingenue to warrior, to outcast, to mother, to sorceress, to murderess.”
The result, Laurens states, is: “a manuscript on misbehavior. Its intention is to investigate with empathy the peculiarity and rage that inhabits the Medea of Greek mythology. It also allows for the uncomfortable notion that she is incarnate today in women who,… caught between duty and true nature, are faced with impossible choices.”
Jameson O’Hara Laurens completed her MFA in poetry and translation in 2014, and has collaborated with artists, choreographers, and translators. She is fortunate to call a bilingual secondary literature classroom her professional home, and has recently received research sabbatical and leadership grants for teaching projects. Having grown up in the West, she has an ongoing concern for the natural world, and for all things apiary. She became a feminist writer by necessity.
Her work has appeared in Enclave, Alexandria Quarterly, Hawkmoth,and Poet Republik. MEDÆUM is her first collection.
The Henry Miller Memorial Library champions the literary and artistic legacy of Henry Miller. This cannot mean only the writings of Miller himself. We may not have even known about Miller had it not been for Anaïs Nin.
Miller existed at the peripheries of American literature, but his sources, and his influence, extend far beyond this country, to the international literary avant-garde. Ping•Pong Free Press brings together a spectrum of influences and combines them with a radical social perspective on the nature of art and the human predicament.
We are committed to promoting artists we love, and sharing our enthusiasm for their work with a global audience. We host poetry competitions each year, and will host another poetry competition opening fall of 2016, and a novella contest in 2017. We are also interested in publishing eco-poetics, perched as we are on the edge of the continent with condors flying overhead flipping the bird to extinction.