Michelle Tooker ’07,’10M, a staff member in University Relations, received honorable mention in the Janet McCabe Poetry Prize sponsored by Ruminate Magazine. Acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye judged the contest and selected Tooker’s poem as one of five prizewinners from more than 1,000 entries.
“I am fan of Naomi Shihab Nye’s work and am thrilled that she selected one of my poems to receive this honor,” says Tooker. “In a field full of a lot of talent, you have to work hard to find your place. Receiving this type of recognition is a great reminder that no matter what challenges you face as a writer, you shouldn’t be afraid of sharing your work.”
The poem “One Month After Miscarriage,” which Tooker wrote as part of her culminating project in the Master’s of Arts in English program, will run in the fall issue of Ruminate. Additional poems from Tooker's collection have appeared in Ampersand, the Asia Literary Review, Foundling Review, Poetry Quarterly, the Schuylkill Valley Journal and others.
Tooker currently is organizing the Philadelphia Chapter of the U.S. Campaign for Burma’s annual fundraising event, called Artists Against Censorship. The Aug. 25 event features literary performances from some of Philadelphia’s most recognized and renowned artists, and Tooker herself will perform as well.
“Since visiting Burma in October 2005, I’ve had a deep affinity for the people and the country,” she says. “The Burmese are so resilient even though they live with the constant threat of government intervention. Many artists and writers are serving long prison sentences simply for expressing their dissatisfaction of the military dictatorship through poetry, comedy and art.” Learn more about the event.