Poetry winner Marc J. Sheehan discusses his winning piece “Nostalgia for the Chevy Monza.”
Marc J. Sheehan: In 1981, soon after her book The Country Between Us was published, I met Carolyn Forché at the Grand Rapids airport to act as her chauffer while she was in town to give a reading. She noted how heavy my Monza’s doors were and I knew one day I’d use that detail in a poem. It took me decades to do so, although once I got around to it I finished the poem quickly after all that time it had sat on the slow assembly line of memory. Technically, the poem is written in very loose blank verse, a form I find can help uncover connections between images and events I hadn’t before been able to make. I will only add that the Toyota Camry I now own has more than 233,000 miles on it and causes me so little anguish I’m sure I will never write a poem about it.
Marc J. Sheehan is the author of two poetry collections — Greatest Hits from New Issues Press and Vengeful Hymns from Ashland Poetry Press. His short story “Objet du Desir” won the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest sponsored by the public radio program Selected Shorts and was read on stage in New York by David Rakoff. His story “The Dauphin” was broadcast on Weekend All Things Considered as part of its Three-Minute Fiction series. He has published stories, poems, essays and reviews in literary magazines including Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Michigan Quarterly Review and many others. He lives in Grand Haven, Michigan.