I’m posting an award from Dragonfly Press for me. Thank you, Dragonfly Press!
It was a complete surprise and was awarded to me at the Northern California yearly meeting of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) held this year in Modesto, CA. Calder Lowe and Kathie Isaac-Luke were there from their own branch of the League. There were ten of us from the Santa Clara County.
Here’s what Dianne McNair shared with some of the members of NLAPW:
“I knew Mary Lou was incredibly talented, hard working and a prolific writer but I had no idea exactly how much of her time she has personally given to others who want to pursue the wonderful world of poetry. It is an honor to know her and we are so grateful to have members like her in NLAPW.”
Here is a picture that Dianne McNair took of me and Calder Lowe (Dragonfly Press), and what ensues is Calder’s speech at the NLAPW meeting at Modesto.
“As serendipity would have it, Mary Lou Taylor was able to attend the NorCal conference today and rather than mailing her this award, I am able to confer the “2013 Dragonfly Press Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement” on her in person.
In 1981, I met Mary Lou after moving from Dallas with my husband and our three-year old son to San José. To say she is focused, determined, and tireless in her dedication when it comes to the promotion of the literary arts within the bay area as well as within our expanded writing community, is an understatement.
To outline all of the programs she initiated, funds she has raised for worthwhile literary organizations, and students she has mentored through the years not just as an English teacher at Monta Vista and Fremont High Schools, but in numerous creative writing workshops, would take hours.
So here’s the abbreviated version:
Mary Lou became a board member of Poetry Center San José in 1981 and has been active in that organization ever since, even serving two terms as President and currently sponsoring a native plant garden at Markham House, the official headquarters for the Center. She has been a member on the board at Villa Montalvo as well as on their Literary Arts Committee which hosted the James Wright Festival in 1997 and she continues to remain active on their Programs Committee. Mary Lou is also a trustee for the Center for Literary Arts at San José State University. She has been an active member of the Peerless Poets Group which produced the anthology, “COTTON AND SPIRIT”, which is still in existence after two decades. Mary Lou helped to organize the Villa Montalvo Young Writers Competition, a contest which resulted in at least one student going on to win an Emmy in writing and countless others to pursue creative outlets even as they went on to major in mathematics and the sciences.
Mary Lou is also an incredibly gifted and widely-published poet. I was privileged enough to write the following testimonial for her first book: The Fringes of Hollywood evokes the exoticism of a David Lynch Film”: The chiaroscuro of haloed light in devotional art, the intensity of a match struck in a darkened corridor, and the hypnotic clarity of a lucid dream. Mary Lou Taylor has succeeded in reanimating the California landscape, forging an indissoluble connection between the power of place, attenuated grief, and the geography of the heart’s longing.
In closing, I want to publicly thank Mary Lou for a word of encouragement she shared with me after an open mic reading “Upstairs at Eulipia” in downtown San José. I was just beginning to experiment with a different writing style and Mary Lou took me aside and said, “I love your new voice. Keep it up.” Between her support and that of Robin Blaser, an amazing poet/professor I met at the Naropa Summer Writing Conference shortly thereafter, I finally embraced my newly-forged identity as a poet.
If you would like to learn more about Mary Lou Taylor’s accomplishments, they can be found in her bio on her WordPress blog site. Mary Lou, it is a distinct pleasure to give you this richly-deserved award.”