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2009 News Releases

Longwood-affiliated Briery Creek Press awards Liam Rector Prize to Garrett J. Brown

March 19, 2009

Garrett J. Brown

Briery Creek Press, which is affiliated with Longwood University, and Creative Writing in Longwood's Department of English and Modern Languages recently awarded the 2009 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry to Garrett J. Brown, for Manna Sifting.

The Prize, awarded March 18, includes a $1,000 honorarium, a letter-pressed broadside of the title poem and publication by Briery Creek Press in spring 2009. This year's judge, E. Ethelbert Miller, wrote that he was "impressed by the range, scope and nuance of Manna Sifting. This collection is a poetry museum with wonderful things on display, showcasing images that linger with the reader...These are resonant well-crafted poems that embrace quality and excellence. The poet's words make love to a reader."

Manna Sifting was runnerup in the 2003 Maryland Emerging Voices competition. Brown also is the author of a chapbook (shorter book of poetry), Panning the Sky, and his poems have appeared in the American Poetry Journal, the Midwest Poetry Review, Urbanite Baltimore, and The Ledge. He won a creative writing fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, from which he graduated with an M.F.A. in creative writing. He is currently teaching writing and pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The award is named for native Virginian Liam Rector, a prominent poet and educator who at the time of his death in August 2007 directed the graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College, which he founded. He was a founding member of the advisory board for both the Dos Passos Review and Briery Creek Press. He had been executive director of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and had administered arts programs with the Guggenheim Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Endowment for the Arts. His last reading performance was at Longwood, in April 2007.

"We established the Prize to provide a much-needed venue for poetry publication in an often difficult market," said Mary Carroll-Hackett, director of the Creative Writing program and editor-at-large of Briery Creek Press and the Dos Passos Review. "We also wanted to honor Liam Rector, who dedicated his professional life to the success of American letters, to creating opportunity for emerging writers and to honoring those who came before us."

Briery Creek Press, founded and operated by Creative Writing faculty and students at Longwood, also publishes the Dos Passos Review, Longwood's twice-yearly literary journal. The previous recipients of the Liam Rector Prize are Amy Tudor last year, for A Book of Birds, and Michael Meyerhofer in 2007, for Leaving Iowa.

Other finalists for this year's Liam Rector Prize included The Ice Fishermen by Kristen Case of Summit, N.Y., and One Red Apple by Deniz Perin of San Diego.