Alumna and Professor Meghan Maguire Dahn '14 Wins 2021 Burnside Review Book Award
BY Nicole Saldarriaga, May 17, 2021
Dahn, who grew up in the woods and learned to think of the woods as a "richly communicative environment" where the "exchange of information is immersive and environmental," cites animal communication, aggressive vulnerability, her grandfather's work on satellite technology, and early vernacular texts in Middle English as inspirations for Domain. "In large part," she says, "the poems in this book are about the ways in which our environments communicate with and for and around us."
"As for the process of composing these poems," said Dahn, "I owe so much to the brilliant Practice of Poetry class that [Professor] Lucie Brock-Broido developed over the years. Her mark on the poets that came through Columbia is profound. Her call to create a 'feral poetry' was instrumental to the way I conceived these poems. Particularly, the way that feral nature balances what’s on the page and what’s unsaid or negative space in the poems is central. Each poem is its own engine, but often what happens for me is that I’ll have a phrase that insists itself in my head. From there much of what transpires is language-driven...Maybe it will suffice to say that I try to create a space on the page where that alchemy can occur in my own thoughts and they become more than what I conceived them to be."
Burnside Review's Press Book Award calls for poets to submit 48-64 pages of poetry. At least ten finalists are sent to the guest judge, and the winning poet receives publication of their book, a $1000 prize, and ten free copies of the book. This year's judge was award-winning poet Jennifer Chang, author of The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark.
Domain will be released in 2022.
Meghan Maguire Dahn grew up in the middle of the woods. Her first poem was published in Highlights Magazine and read primarily in waiting rooms by children nervous about getting shots or stitches. Her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, The Boog City Reader, Beloit Poetry Journal, Cartographer, and ellipsis…a journal of art and culture. She is a winner of a 2014 Discovery/92nd Street Y Poetry Prize, has an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and lives steps away from Manhattan’s only forest.