Western Washington University Associate Professor of Journalism Maria McLeod has been named the winner of the 2020 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Contest, resulting in publication of her first book, “Mother Want,” to be released next month.
A second chapbook of McLeod’s poetry, “Skin. Hair. Bones.,” has also been accepted for publication and will be released by Finishing Line Press this fall.
The contest was judged by former Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford.
“These poems tell what can’t be told, trusting images and sensations to convey us into life’s mysterious past, and then to emerge unburdened by crippling vows of silence. Love is told as truth here, line by line,” said Stafford in his review of "Mother Want."
In addition to writing poetry, McLeod writes short fiction and works of documentary theatre. Her past honors include the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Prize and three Pushcart Prize nominations. She’s been published in literary journals such as Puerto Del Sol, Painted Bride Quarterly, Critical Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, Sonora Review and others.
At Western, McLeod was awarded the Thaddeus Spratlen and Lois Price-Spratlen Inclusion and Diversity Grant for a project she proposed that fused her journalism and creative writing degrees by generating a script derived from interviews she conducted with Western students. The result was a work of documentary theatre, “First Person: Diverse Students Stories,” which was performed on campus by Western students in 2016 and restaged as part of Western’s Campus Equity and Inclusion forum in 2017.