Department of English

OU English Professor’s essay draws praise; prize

English Professor Alison Powell

english, essay, powell, award

icon of a calendarMarch 18, 2019

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OU English Professor’s essay draws praise; prize

Alison Powell, Ph.D., assistant professor of creative writing in the Department of English at Oakland University, has had her essay entitled “Already We Are Less Than Ever Before” selected as a Proximity Magazine Personal Essay Prize winner.

As part of Proximity Magazine’s recognition, Powell’s essay and photo are being published in Proximity Magazine’s third annual prize issue, Issue 19, alongside other works fitting into their theme of “The Body.”

Proximity Magazine’s website says they chose that theme because, “Our bodies hold our deepest secrets and our greatest joys. They lead us on adventures and temper our dreams; they teach us to persevere and allow us to be surprised by our own resilience; they limit and empower. Bodies can be both desecrated and exalted. They offer stories of boundless inspiration and boundless tragedy.”

Powell explained in her interview with Proximity Magazine that she expanded her original writing project on species extinction to include more general examples of animal exploitation, including the submitted piece, where she explores humans own animality. Her prize-winning essay is part of a larger series of penned essays that she plans to develop into a book length manuscript.

Powell, whose academic work focuses on the Romantic Poets, had her debut collection of poems, On the Desire to Levitate, published in 2014. It was selected for the Hollis Summers Prize. In addition, her work has been published in journals such as Boston Review, AGNI, Guernica, Crazyhorse, New Orleans Review, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review and others. In addition, Powell has served as guest editor for Crazyhorse. She earned her English from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Proximity chose Hanif Abdurraqib, a poet, essayist and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio to be this year’s judge of the essay finalists. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and PEN American, among other journals and his first book of essays was selected as a book of the year by outlets such as Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

About Proximity Magazine:
Proximity Magazine publishes a quarterly collection of true stories exploring place, space and connections in the modern age. The publication’s editors say their goal is to expand their readers’ view of the world and the selected essays will encourage laughter, conversation, bring about difficult-but-important questions, and even, on occasion, create a really good cry.

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