Karen Leona Anderson Published in "Best American Poetry" Series


Karen Leona Anderson, Assistant Professor of English, has been selected as one of the poets to be published in “The Best American Poetry 2012.” Her poem, “Receipt: Midway Entertainment Presents,” will be published in the upcoming anthology.

For each edition of the anthology, a guest editor reads poetry published in the majority of large and small literary journals  and picks the 75 top poems to be published in the anthology. Each anthology begins with an introduction by the editor, discussing the different kinds of poems selected that year.

This year’s anthology, which will be released on Sept. 18, was edited by Mark Doty, a recent National Book Award Winner. Doty visited St. Mary’s in 2009 for a VOICES reading and is now the Director of Writers House and a Professor of English at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Anderson’s poem is based on “the kind of double meaning of the word ‘fair,'” she said, meaning “fair as in [the county fair] and fair as in just.” It was inspired by a register receipt she saved from the St. Mary’s County Fair and is part of a larger series of poems based on cash register receipts.

The poem also comments on the division between the local and commercial sections of a fair. In the local area, there are pigs and cows on display for judgement, whereas in the commercial section, one has to buy a ticket for all the attractions available. According to Anderson, it is an observation of our “habits of consuming” as a community.

In reaction to having her poem selected, Anderson said, “It’s a great thing. Writing is lonely work, so it’s a privilege to be recognized.” Anderson has a lot of respect for Doty’s work so it was an honor to have her poem selected by him.

“The College is a good place to be a writer,” said Anderson about her inspiration for the poem. “The poem came out of this place and community. Being here really supported this work.” Anderson said that she has been inspired by many of the discussions she has had with both faculty and students on this campus.