Dorset Prize Tip #5: Dare, Spin, Climb: Arriving at your Final Manuscript by Lauren Camp

We asked former Dorset Prize Winners to share their tips on “Making Your Dorset Manuscript.” Here, Lauren Camp, 2014 Dorset Prize Winner and author of “One Hundred Hungers” (Tupelo Press, 2016), shares her daring advice to complete your manuscript:

Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote, “… there is no path, paths are made by walking.” In your manuscript, have you dared? Have you traveled into impossibility?

Walk every line of every poem in your manuscript. Read them aloud. Make sure each poem billows with your personal acoustic range and power. Extend into instinct; spin away from pure logic. Make the poems lush with sound and imagery.

How do you get there? Trouble the words, the line, the syntax, and your subject until there’s no further to travel. You will know the work is ready when you have arrived at the place where you take away your own breath. Find every bit of earth and heights. Climb them. Lay down in them.

I wish you the best of luck!

Lauren Camp
Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp is the author of four books, including One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), which won the Dorset Prize and received finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. Her most recent book is Turquoise Door (3: A Taos Press, 2018). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming Slice, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. An emeritus Black Earth Institute fellow, she lives and teaches in New Mexico.




Learn more about or submit to the Dorset Prize here!