At Notre Dame of Maryland University, the state’s only undergraduate women’s college, our mission already addresses this ongoing cultural conversation, said Shelley Puhak, award-winning poet and NDMU’s Sister Maura Eichner Professor of English. NDMU announced the winners of its second annual Eichner Awards earlier this month, a competition designed to encourage and recognize female poets in the earliest stages of their careers.
“In my role as Eichner Chair of Writing, I have been entrusted with preserving Sr. Maura’s legacy of helping women find, trust, and hone their voices. In her honor and in response to VIDA’s findings, NDMU has expanded opportunities for emerging women writers through our 4 Under 40 Reading Series and our prestigious Eichner Award for Young Poets,” she said.
“We were fortunate to have the co-founder of VIDA, the critically-acclaimed poet Cate Marvin, as the judge for our inaugural Eichner Awards competition. This year noted poet and translator A.E. Stallings, a regular contributor to The New Yorker and Poetry and winner of a prestigious MacArthur ‘genius grant,’ served as our judge,” she said.
“We plan to continue to connect aspiring, emerging, and established women writers and create more opportunities for conversation and mentorship,”
Sister Maura Eichner inculcated a love of writing in her many students over her 50-year career teaching creative writing and literature at Notre Dame. More than 350 of her own poems appeared in literary magazines and journals, newspapers and collections including After Silence, a collection of poems chosen by her friends and colleagues that was published after her death in 2009.