We asked former Dorset Prize Winners to share their tips on “Making Your Dorset Manuscript.” Here, Mario Chard, 2016 Dorset Prize Winner and author of “Land of Fire” (Tupelo Press, 2018), shares his “impractical” advice:
Everything I read about writing and publishing the first book was useful, even the tips I ignored. I wanted the poems to be useful, too, to be used but never used up. Still, when I exhausted all of the practical advice I could, impractical advice became useful.
To that end, I would add another to “tears” and “surprise”: no patience in the writer, no patience in the reader. Faith without work is dead. So is patience. Work in both!
One last thought: there may be only one Pacific, but there are many peaks in Darien. I am grateful for those who cleared the path for me. I am grateful for the peaks I climbed alone. I am grateful for advice generally and suspicious of its worth. The conquistadors wept when they saw the ocean. Standing on the same ground, those they enslaved knew the sight from birth.
Mario Chard was born in northern Utah, the son of an Argentine immigrant mother and an American father. Recent poems have appeared in the The New Yorker, Poetry, Boston Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he currently teaches in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and sons.