Poem by Texas Tech English Graduate Student Nominated for Pushcart Prize

'Pig Wrestling', a poem by Texas Tech graduate student Carrie Jerrell, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, a literary award and publication opportunity given to aspiring authors.

Written by: Gretchen Pressley

"Pig Wrestling", a poem by Texas Tech graduate student Carrie Jerrell, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, a literary award and publication opportunity given to aspiring authors.

The Pushcart Prize – Best of the Small Presses series is known as one of the most prestigious literary projects in America. It is published once a year. Small magazine and book press editors may nominate up to six literary works for possible entry in the following year’s Pushcart publication. About 7,000 literary pieces are nominated each year, out of which 60 are chosen for the Pushcart Prize.

Inspired by her memories of high school, Jerrell’s poem was first published in the inaugural issue of the literary journal “Measure,” published by the University of Evansville.

In the poem, Jerrell describes her experiences as part of a very successful pig wrestling team and the fun she had participating in local fairs with her friends in her hometown of Petersburg, Ind. Though the poem is about Jerrell’s memories of the fair, it also expresses the human struggle to save memories or thoughts of the past from being slowly erased by time.

“The poem is about things you try to capture but can’t quite get a grip on, like thoughts or memories,” Jerrell said. “You can kind of grasp a shadow of it, but then it slips away. Through my poems, I try to answer the questions that we all have about life.”

Rob Griffith, editor of “Measure,” said he was thrilled to nominate “Pig Wrestling” for the prize because the poem has so much energy, motion and story, even within the confines of the typical formal verse.

“Too much of today’s ‘Neo-Formalist’ verse merely thumps along, measuring out its beats while providing the reader with nothing more than dull, essay-like exposition,” Griffith said. “Ms. Jerrell, on the other hand, knows that the best formal verse can be alive and essential, using all the resources that poetry provides.”

The winners of the Pushcart Prize will be announced in May 2007.

CONTACT: Carrie Jerrell, English graduate student of creative writing, (806) 252-6950 or carrie.jerrell@ttu.edu.