Salt Lake Community College English professor Lisa Bickmore was amazed when she won first prize at the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize this past April.
Bickmore wrote a poem titled “Eidolon” that was chosen from more than 3,000 contest entries to be published in Irish literary magazine “The Moth.” She also received a cash prize of 10,000 euros.
“I felt like a teeny tiny aneurism popped in my brain,” says Bickmore when she was name the winner. “It blew my mind. I truly didn’t expect that I would win.”
Bickmore has been regularly submitting her poems to literary journals, seeking an audience for her writing. After learning about the Ballymaloe contest, she submitted two of her original poems.
In March, Bickmore received news via email from the editor-in-chief of “The Moth” revealing that “Eidolon” was on the shortlist of four entries for the top prize. At minimum, Bickmore would receive 1,000 euros.
“One way or another, I knew I was going to have money out of this contest, which just blew my mind,” says Bickmore.
Bickmore made the decision to head to Dublin, Ireland with her husband by her side. The ceremony was held in The Irish Writers Center, located within historic Parnell Square in Dublin.
“I’m probably not going to be on the shortlist for an international poetry prize that many times in my life,” says Bickmore.
What surprised Bickmore was how many people attended the event, many of whom lived in the city and were not associated with the poets themselves.
There are some other opportunities opening up for Bickmore as a writer and poet.
She also won a prize from Denver’s Elixir Press in the summer of 2014, which resulted in the release of her book. Publication is scheduled for January 1, 2016.
The recent awards have empowered Bickmore.
“For me, the most important thing is feeling a greater sense of confidence in my work,” says Bickmore.
Bickmore has been teaching English at SLCC since 1992. Her courses include English 2010, Creative Writing courses like Intro to Poetry, and the new Publication Studies class.