County: Whatcom County
Fellowship Awards 2007
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Nancy Pagh received an MA in literature and an MA in creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a PhD in interdisciplinary studies from the University of British Columbia. Her first collection of poems, No Sweeter Fat, won the Autumn House Press book competition and was published in 2007. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and anthologies, including The Bellingham Review, Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Crab Creek Review, Pontoon, Rock Salt Plum, Poetry Daily, and O Magazine.
Nancy has been featured on “The Beat” and “Sound Focus,” literary segments on KUOW, and she was three times nominated for the Pushcart literary prize. She is a frequent and enthusiastic reader at Northwest bookshops and galleries and a headliner at the 2007 Gist Street Master’s Poetry Series in Pittsburgh. Nancy’s first book, At Home Afloat: Women on the Waters of the Pacific Northwest (2001), is a critical study of the language women use when traveling at sea. She is an adjunct faculty member at Western Washington University.
As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Nancy traveled to Lopez Island for a reading at the Lopez Library, a beautifully remodeled schoolhouse. She read in front of a large stone fireplace as the audience members sat in cozy easy chairs and couches. She read from No Sweeter Fat and her newest chapbook, After, which won the Floating Bridge Press Poetry Chapbook Award. Between the poems, Nancy emphasized the significance of taking a risk with writing: in writing about “the big thing in your life that seems too difficult to tackle, the thing that makes you feel vulnerable, the thing you fear no one wants to know.” The audience was made up of a wide age range of people—from 20 to 80 years old! The reading evolved into a writing workshop prompted by questions about the participants’ unique relationship with language. These were questions about the first word they ever spoke, the word they often misspell, their favorite letter, the most beautiful word there is, the word they believe does not belong in any poem, the word or phrase they would like someone to tell them if it was the last thing they would hear. Nancy left with the impression that although Lopez Island is fairly isolated, the community members are very committed to taking advantage of opportunities to engage with visiting artists of all kinds.