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Heidy Steidlmayer


Heidy Steidlmayer was awarded the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry. She is the author of a book of poems, Fowling Piece (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern 2012), which received the John C. Zacharis Award from Ploughshares and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, TriQuarterly, PloughsharesThe Cortland Review, Literary Imagination, and Michigan Quarterly Review, among others, and in Poems, Poets Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology, by Helen Vendler (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002).

The Value of Support

"There is an Iranian proverb that says simply, “One finger cannot lift a pebble.” I think that this expression first really began to speak to me when I was writing and felt that I had gotten something down. How to show it to anyone? There was this larger aspect of poetry, one that I could do very little about. I had three young children and not much time to pursue anything but the writing itself. Because of this, I think that the value of support, especially for women writers, is that it helps you to do the impossible while your hand is also able to continue writing. And paradoxically, it is precisely this lift which allows you as an artist to discover what Martin Shaw would call your work’s “chthonic dimensions” – its depth. For in its freeing, the pebble could become “a gray sheepfold pebbling the dark film,” or “St. Anne’s wrist / sunk in anchored calm,” or “the great sea crushed inside a turtle,” instead of more daily concerns. I think that what the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards offer women writers most profoundly is both a means for in-dwelling and an opening out into the world."

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