Dr. Felicia Mitchell, chair of the English Department at Emory & Henry College, was recently notified that two of her poems have been nominated for the coveted Pushcart Prize.
"The Pushcart Prize - Best of the Small Presses" series has been published every year since 1976 and is considered by many to be the most honored literary project in America. Pushcart Prize editions can be found in most libraries and bookstores around the country. Magazine and small book press editors can make up to six nominations from the past year in the areas of short stories, poems and essays to be considered for a Pushcart.
Both of Mitchell's nominated poems deal with a recurring theme. “My Turn Out of the Box” was nominated by Referential Magazine and was inspired by a vivid dream Mitchell had that focuses on her relationship with her mother. The poem, which also has been nominated for "Best of the Net," was inspired by the North Carolina poet Scott Owens' “13 Ways of Angels.”
"Victim" was nominated by The Medulla Review (and also anthologized by the review's 2010 print anthology), is a referential poem that Mitchell wrote in response to a sequence of drawings by her dear friend, poet Albert Huffstickler (1927-2002) and focuses on abuse, another topic that she has addressed extensively in her writing. It too is centered on a mother-daughter relationship.
“What is interesting about the two poems that were nominated is that they came from very deep inside my psyche,” Mitchell said. “Sometimes my poems are simple (though perhaps deep), often about things that happen to me as I go through life, things I observe directly. These poems were based on imaginative ways of thinking about real things and were more inward.”
Dr. Felicia Mitchell teaches courses in writing, linguistics, poetry, creative writing and literature. She also directs the E&H Writing Center, chairs the Department of English, and serves as director of the CORE writing proficiency. She is preparing to take a sabbatical to work on a project that will be based on poems related to her relationship with the natural world. Mitchell, who has recently been battling cancer, says her fight with the disease is something that is becoming a source of inspiration in her writing.
“I can see that the cancer I have been dealing with this semester and will continue to work with is already informing the way I write about nature (or cancer), since I have found time to write a few poems this semester. I am eager to see where the sabbatical book project will take me from my proposal to the end result,” she said.