Cornellian wins poetry contest; will read poem in Times SquareSeptember 16, 2009
MOUNT VERNON – As one of the four winners of the Bright Lights Big Verse: Poems of Times Square national poetry contest, Ben Miller ’86 will showcase his winning poem “Pipe Birds” in an unusual location: Times Square.
The prize-winning pieces, selected from nearly 500 entries, represent different Times Square experiences and impressions – from a family of sparrows nesting in an unlikely urban environment to a meditation on intimacy and estrangement inspired by the famous photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square at the end of World War II.
Miller’s writing has appeared in outlets such as Best American Essays, The Yale Review, The Kenyon Review, Salmagundi, Raritan, AGNI, One Story and An Introduction to the Prose Poem. He is also the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Miller, a native of Davenport who has lived in New York since graduating from Cornell, has remained close to his mentor, Cornell Professor Emeritus of English and Poet-in-Residence Robert Dana.
As part of his prize, Miller received $750 and accommodations at the Millennium Broadway Hotel.
For more information, visit timessquarenyc.org/about_us/brightpoetry.html.
Read the L.A. Times story on the event.
Sparrows fly in and out a cove atop the corner pole.
Feather ruffle unscrolled, beaks chirping, stitching…
The family stuck like a burr on 43rd and Broadway.
No home-style fantasy like my restaurant. Each week
an at-risk heritage–Moldavian, Iowan, Senegalese–
invited to bake and cook in the kitchen of 35 stoves.
The reality of where a nest can fit, what lineage abide
without falling apart into old recipes needing saving.
Curl of metal curtains. Hidden weave of twigs, wire.
Truck traffic–how does it resound in their little hole?
More vibration than noise? A massage or a message?
Pipe birds exit like bumbling bullets, enter like moles.
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