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Robbins' work takes Judge's Prize at poetry awards

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Elizabeth Robbins

Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Robbins’ book “Freaked” was recently awarded the Judge’s Prize in the Elixer Press Annual Poetry Awards.

Feb. 5, 2014

Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Robbins’ book “Freaked” was recently awarded the Judge’s Prize in the Elixer Press Annual Poetry Awards.

“The book’s poems are broken down into six sections, each one hinting at the various meanings of ‘freak,’ most commonly, unusual or irregular beings or happenings, but also a sudden turn of mind or, in slang, to experience fear,” explained Robbins.

Winning the Judge’s Prize not only means having her manuscript published by Elixir Press, as well as the $2,500 prize, but also means being honored by poets she respects.

“I'm thrilled to have won the award,” said Robbins. "The judge, Bruce Bond, is a poet whose work I've long admired, and the press consistently publishes poetry collections I re-read and recommend to others.”

“Freaked” is due to be published in late 2014/early 2015.


“So Others May Live”
–an except from “Freaked” originally published in Tar River Poetry

            --Four members of a Buffalo, New York, junior firefighters club admitted to setting twelve fires and reporting thousands of false alarms over a three-year period because they wanted to aid firefighters who complained of boredom.

When Miss Clark read us that poem about the fire
truck in the rain, the wheels rumbling / through
the dark city, it turned my mind, I heard if not harps,
then my mom ringing the supper bell. I knew I'd join,
I'm the leader, the others follow, though it's not what
you think, black trenchcoated, graffiti-spraying teens
bent on mayhem. Picture three guys and a girl trying
on turnout gear, dreams aflame in red and black,
Michigan Street Baptist Church smoking like a room
in hell, or all of Millionaire's Row lit up in hot gold.
The point is, it's only fun once, sliding down the pole,
only so many ways to make chili. The cable TV with
no Xbox, and the public service flyers never needing

updates, ie. Christmas Tree Safety, never use lit candles
to decorate a tree. We're old enough now to find the
brown spot on Ernie's face growing black and Mike's
Zoloft in the fridge, and when you walk in the station
and so many are taking naps, it makes you want to clang
and howl, drag them all into the day's onrush. We're
young enough still to not lose much, the thousand-hour
volunteer mark getting you a hoodie with a patch, not
a guaranteed career, so why not blow it on them while
the kid fantasy's still alive, tearing down streets, siren
screaming, Hummers and Mercedes bowing down?
There's no moving backward once you get going, and
the first thing they taught us was the firefighter's motto.


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