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Starr Davis wins conference writing award

Adjunct English Professor Christine Starr Davis has always known she wanted to write.

She has been writing since she was little, and it arose out of a huge passion for reading.

“Books were constant companions for me,” she said. “I never get over the magic of words on a page having the effects on readers that they do.”

Starr Davis has been named the recipient of the Emerging Writer Award for the upcoming Great Plains Writers’ Conference, which will be held March 23-25 at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. The award was started in 2013 to support and showcase up-and-coming literary talent in the Upper Great Plains region.

It is a cross-genre prize. Starr Davis chose to submit poetry and had to submit 15 pages of work.

“Cross-genre prizes are not that common,” she said. “Prose seems to dominate the literary critics, so this is one of those ‘yay poetry’ moments.”

Starr Davis said she loved the impact poetry has.

“I love the power of the line and the things you can do with the form of a poem,” she said.

The theme of the conference this year is veterans and healing through writing, so when selecting her entries she said she tried to keep that in mind. She also tried to pick work that represented the Great Plains.

“I wanted to represent a sample of work related to the boundedness of land and nature, poems that speak to the resilience of plains people,” she said.

She also chose to submit work that had been published already and some that had not.

Starr Davis has had work published in more than a dozen journals, as well as in anthologies and e-zines, and has several anthologies in progress. She was nominated for 2009 Best New Poets honor and a 2010 Pushcart Prize in addition to being a  finalist for the Washington Prize in 2009.

“Any time writing is lifted up as something to celebrate, it is very exciting,” she said. “Whether it’s me getting that recognition or someone else, it’s very affirming for the writing endeavor. (But the Emerging Writer Award was) very surprising, happy news.”