The Writer’s Center is pleased to announce that Susan Bucci Mockler is the first recipient of its inaugural—and already highly competitive—Undiscovered Voices Fellowship. In this initiative, The Writer’s Center provides a one-year-long fellowship to a promising writer earning less than $25,000 annually. At a time when economic challenges make it difficult for many writers to pursue their literary goals, The Writer’s Center’s Undiscovered Voices Fellowship aims to provide that extra professional boost for talented writers like Bucci Mockler.
A mother of three, Bucci Mockler is a poet and writing instructor at Marymount University in Arlington, VA and a substitute teacher. For the last 20 years, she has honed her craft—while taking several workshops at The Writer’s Center—and her poems have been published in literary journals such as Sow's Ear Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Poet Lore, and The Innisfree Poetry Journal. Bucci Mockler is eager to get to work. “This fellowship will provide the atmosphere to write more and better poetry,” she says. “I will be challenged and motivated by the workshop leaders, other students in the workshops, and the feedback they give. To me, being around people who are taking their writing seriously is a tremendous inspiration.”
With her Undiscovered Voices Fellowship, Bucci Mockler will receive complimentary writing workshops for a period of one year. During the course of the year, she hopes to use The Writer’s Center’s workshops as a “place to be inspired, motivated, and pushed to write and revise with the goal of publishing a book of poetry.” In addition to receiving free workshops at The Writer’s Center, Susan Bucci Mockler will give a reading from her work at the close of the fellowship period (June 2010), and she will be invited to speak with local high school students on the craft of writing.
Here is a sample of her work, from her poem “Black Schist”:
When I saw the emptiness of that screen—
the blackness not pulsing, no life or breath
in it, I fell backward into someone else’s body.
The doctor said there were just membranes,
That sometimes the baby does not grow.
When I heard those words, I knew that the place
in me where you had been was already turning
to stone—shale and slate compressing
layer by layer over time.
Stanley Plumly, a workshop leader at The Writer’s Center and Maryland’s new poet laureate, says that her work “speaks with precision and defining understatement in poems that honor their archetypes as well as their strict language.”
Sarah Antine, a Writer’s Center member, was part of the selection committee for the fellowship. “Bucci Mockler’s poems are alive with sensory detail and emotional impact,” she says. “The music reverberates within the walls of each poem’s structure and story. Her voice holds out a hand and pulls the reader into her work.”
Other members of the selection committee for the 2009/10 Undiscovered Voices Fellowship included workshop leaders Peter Brown, Virginia Hartman, Adam Meyer, Cara Seitchek, and Gina Hagler; board member Sandra Beasley; and member Karla Araujo.