Uncategorized | July 27, 2004

A pair of writers whose work has appeared in The Missouri Review have won 2004 PEN Literary Awards. Gabriel Spera’s debut collection of poems, The Standing Wave (Perennial), was selected in poetry while Floyd Skloot’s memoir of a viral infection that attacked his brain and reshaped his entire life, In the Shadow of Memory (University of Nebraska Press), was selected in creative non-fiction.

Of Spera’s poetry, the judges wrote, “The book demanded our attention for the emotional range of the poems and for the maturity of craft exhibited there. In short, this book is extraordinary.” The poems, the judges added, are “so packed with metaphor we seem in 2004 almost to have forgotten how to read them. Reading this book we remember that we love metaphor, love the old ways of speaking, not only in an individual voice but in the collective voice of our conscience.” Spera’s poems, “The Aerialist,” “Midway,” “Studies for a Portrait,” and “Tarantula,” appeared in TMR 25:3 (2002).

The judges described Skloot’s memoir as “a fascinating book that took the reader through the horrors and ruminations, the comedy and the darkness, of brain disease.” They added, “his writing is taut, fluid and in itself a pleasure to soak the eyes in . . . a marvelous, marvelous book.” Previously, In the Shadow of Memory won an Independent Book Publishers Award and the 2003 Oregon Book Award. Skloot’s essay, “Wild in the Woods: Confessions of a Demented Man,” appeared in TMR 22:3 (1999).