Students in field

Carolyn Dekker nominated for The Pushcart Prize for essay, “October Pomegranates”

January 10, 2019

Creative Nonfiction may be new to Dr. Carolyn Dekker, Assistant Professor of English, but you’d never know it based on her piece, “October Pomegranates.” The college essay, which was recently nominated for The Pushcart Prize, focuses on what it’s like to live in the north country and the contrast between living life and teaching literature here at Finlandia University.

“I felt a little like I was leading a double life when I first moved up here,” said Dekker. “I had just bought a house and was running back and forth between doing serious manual labor with my father on my roof and teaching my students about poetry.”

The piece is unique because of this contrast, and wasn’t understood by all who read it. Thankfully, one publication really got it.

“I heard a lot in the beginning that readers didn’t understand how the two sides of this piece went together,” said Dekker. “It’s heartening when someone seems to get it, and Up North Lit really championed this piece.”

Up North Lit, a web-based literary journal focused on Midwest writers, published and nominated the piece for The Pushcart Prize.

“Every year Pushcart Press publishes this anthology, The Best of the Small Presses,” said Dekker. “It would be pretty amazing company to be in, as this anthology is eagerly awaited by other writers each year.”

Hundreds of small magazines publishing creative work across the country nominate the best work they published that year.

“I see this as a window into my classroom and life up here,” said Dekker. “It’s the marriage of family/life writing and literature and the work we do in classrooms.”

This is just one piece in a larger body of creative nonfiction work for Dekker.

“I’ve had to be patient as the sister pieces have emerged as the conjunction of teaching and life have flowed through me,” said Dekker. “Writing is an extension of living, teaching, reading, parenting and being engaged in all of those things.”

Dekker’s piece, “October Pomegranates,” can be read here.

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