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Maxine Scates' "Black Loam" named a finalist for 2005 Oregon Book Awards


The Eugene poet is a visiting associate professor of creative writing at Reed College.


PORTLAND, OR (October 10, 2005) –  Maxine Scates, visiting associate professor of creative writing at Reed College, has been announced as a finalist for the 2005 Oregon Book Awards (OBA) for her second volume of poetry, Black Loam (Cherry Grove Collections).

Scates' first book, Toluca Street, received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, and subsequently the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. She is co-editor, with David Trinidad, of Holding Our Own: The Selected Poems of Ann Stanford, published by Copper Canyon Press. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Agni, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Crab Orchard Review, Crazyhorse, Hubbub, Ironwood, Luna, Massachusetts Review, Missouri Review, North American Review, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, The Women's Review of Books, and ZYZZYVA. She has received fellowships in poetry from the Oregon Arts Commission and Literary Arts and has taught at the Mountain Writers Center and as Writer-in-Residence at Lewis and Clark College and Reed College.

About Black Loam
Beauty, fear, praise, unanswerable questions, wandering exile: these are the expansive concerns of Maxine Scates' tightly composed, musically precise lyrics. Black Loam, winner of the 2004 Lyre Prize, is a masterful second collection for Scates.

"Maxine Scates' Black Loam maps the difficult choices forced upon us all – which wounds to deepen in order not to forget, which wounds to will into healing. In a world often filled with squalor and cruelty, Scates does not find redemption, but finds survival, and maybe finally that is all the redemption that's out there for us. These clear-eyed, frank, hard-hitting poems demonstrate a careful attention to the things of the world. Scates wisely knows when to slow down to paint her layered, textured images. She recognizes the penetrating moments that change our lives in an instant. Scates is there when the veil is lifted. In fact, I often feel that she is the one doing the lifting." –Jim Daniels


" Black Loam is a quietly compelling collection of poems, the steady pulse of which is the psychic drive toward maturation. Its obsessive return to certain luminous or devastating moments of childhood is dynamic, however, not prevaricating, steadily subjecting those crystalline memories to the powers of the now. Chief of these are mind and the intimate, almost personal apprehension of the natural world. The dark river that we – and poets – used to expect to swallow poets whole – brilliant, crippled children to the end – is the tow Scates rows against with every pull of her oars. Black Loam's poems are rich and disciplined, concerned with psychic landscape not as a naturalist or a photographer might be, but as the saving site of a mythic, strenuous journey home." – Linda McCarriston