The Honickman Foundation

2006 APR / Honickman First Book Prize Winner

David Roderick, Blue Colonial

"I wanted to publish a larger piece of work – something that might approach a novel, so that if you wanted to spend an hour buried in a book you could. I like the appeal of inviting readers into my world."

David Roderick, 2006 Book Prize recipient, certainly invited that year's judge into his world.

"I got an enormous kick out of hearing Robert Pinsky's voice on my answering machine. He is an incredible poet, and it is difficult to escape his presence, voice, and importance to all of us who are writing today. Blue Colonial is a better book because his eyes were on it, more than once. He imagines himself writing to an American audience, and, after reading more of his work, I strive toward the same thing."


My father told me it was hard
to be a man, that every step
was either tentative or monstrous
and that God's dominion
was the smell of smoke in the air.
For smoke to rise from our chimney
we needed cordwood stacked
in the pitched shade of the trunks.
Our whole October was that.
The flames of treetops
were bright symbols of power.
Their ashes fell to a river
where fish were faithful gestures.
My arms were heavy and I wasn't
listening to my father anymore.
I was trying to hear the difference
between each piece of wood,
feel autumn run through its grooves.

Winning the book prize also positively affected David's teaching career.

"Soon after I received the good news that my book won, I got a Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I don't think I would have earned that position if my book hadn't won the prize, which drew more attention to my application. And now I am in a tenure track position at the University of Carolina at Greensboro, teaching poetry and creative writing in the MFA Writing Program – a position that required at least one published book."

David is also working on another book which he hopes to finish in 2010. Thankful for winning the prize, David also appreciates how it brings attention to other poets' work.

"It's an extraordinary act of generosity for The Honickman Foundation to support this prize and to give poets a voice and a way to get published. The Foundation and APR really get behind their books, and help the winner find an audience. I feel extremely grateful and lucky that I won this prize, which is one of the most respected, if not the most, out there. It was a great boost in confidence at a time when I really needed it."

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