Newberg poet Lynn Otto's first published collection of work is garnering statewide attention.
"Real Daughter," Otto's book of poems that explores the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter, is a finalist for the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry at this year's Oregon Book Awards.
Otto said her book's nomination provides the affirmation that many writers seek, especially given that it is her first published collection.
"I'm very happy about it," she said. "It means more people will hear about my book and it's confirmation that I'm writing well, which is important to me."
Other nominees in the OBA poetry category include Portland resident Carl Adamshick's "Birches," Pendleton native Shaindel Beers' "Secure Your Own Mask," Allan Peterson, of Ashland, for "This Luminous: New and Selected Poems" and Portland's Ashley Toliver's work "Spectra."
Otto said she's excited to be nominated among the group of established authors and she's been "thrilled" with the feedback she's received from those who have read her work.
"From what I've heard from people who have read the book, I think it does resonate," she said. "It's not just women, either. While the stories in the poems focus on mothers and daughters, men feel emotional connections to it as well.
"When you're going through difficulties in close relationships, you can feel rather lonely. When people tell me that the book means something to them, it feels like a connection – like I've let them know that they aren't alone, which means I'm not alone either."
The winners for all the Oregon Book Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 27 at The Armory theater in Portland.
Otto is a copy editor by trade and didn't get started writing creatively until she was in her 40s. She is now writing regularly and has already started on her next collection of works, which she said "explores the difficulty of living with burdensome knowledge."
For now, she plans to celebrate her first book's accomplishments and encourages anyone interested in reading it to purchase it online on Amazon or at local bookstores. This is a collection of poems that strikes an emotional chord with many and is derived from her own experience.
"I started writing in my 40s and I'm just glad that I get to do this," Otto said. "I have learned so much from other writers and pursuing feedback. I am so happy that I started, and I would encourage others to believe that they can."
Arts & Leisure briefs
Bee enthusiast will speak at Newberg Public Library
The Newberg Public Library will host beekeeper and educator Jeff Clark from 7 to 8 p.m. March 6 at its headquarters at the corner of Hancock and Howard streets.
Clark, a mentor in the Oregon Master Beekeeper program and a past board member of the Tualatin Valley Beekeepers Assoc., will speak on a love of bees he has enjoyed since a youth.
Songwriters to perform at vineyard
McMINNVILLE – Coeur de Terre Vineyards will hold the Willamette Valley Songwriters Showcase beginning at 4 p.m. Feb. 15 at the winery's headquarters at 21000 S.W. Eagle Point Road.
Award-winning musicians will perform original songs during a fundraiser for Ethos, a nonprofit formed "in the belief that all children, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location, deserve access to music education," a release from the winery said.
"Students, particularly in rural areas, are isolated from both in-school and out-of-school opportunities to find creative expression through music, and they miss out on the vast social and academic benefits music provides," Rachel Gilmore, director of operations at Ethos, said. "We are so honored to have the support of the Willamette Valley Songwriters Showcase and the incredible local musicians featured."
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