SMSU Professor of English Dr. Susan McLean of Marshall has won the 2014 Donald Justice Poetry Prize for her second poetry book manuscript, The Whetstone Misses the Knife.
The prize is given annually to one American poet for an unpublished book-length manuscript of formal poetry. The award includes publication of her book by Story Line Press in June 2014, a reading from the book at the West Chester University Poetry Conference in West Chester, Penn., in June 2014, free registration at the conference, and $1,000.
“Donald Justice is a poet who was known for writing poems in form, which is the kind I write, too,” said McLean. “He taught in a number of universities, and wound up in the creative writing program at the University of Iowa.”
McLean is on sabbatical this academic year and has been traveling as she researches and translates the work of Latin poet Catullus.
The Whetstone Misses the Knife is her second full-length book. Her first was The Best Disguise. “Mainly, the poems are in rhyme and meter. There are 60 poems, and a higher percentage of humorous poems in this book than in the last book,” she said.
McLean was able to enter the Donald Justice Poetry Prize contest with grant money obtained from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC). Her grant was funded through the McKnight Foundation.