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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Benbow, Margaret
Prizes,   pp. 48-51


Page 48

ARRETT PALMER WAS THE SEXIEST POET THAT YEAR. When a 
poet wins a big prize, his wit is sweeter to everyone, his 
shoulders seem more muscular. He has more hair, and it curls. 
When Garrett walked into the hall 
where the reading was to be held, there 
was the halo effect around his hair, and 
people ate up his famously funky leather 
jacket as though it were a sacred cloak 
of monkey fur and auk feathers worn by 
an Aztec prince. True, some of the faces 
watching him were shriveled by envy. 
Possibly because so many poets have 
nerve-shredding early lives and serve as 
the hunchbacks of their various 
parochial schools and girl scout troops, 
they tend to be lacerated people who 
are deeply fascinated by prizes and all 
forms of public awards and acclaim. It 
seems to them that all the glitter and 
soft licks should do something to heal. 
However, you could massage them 
slowly with vats of goose grease, pin 
medals as big as trash can lids on their 
narrow bowed chests, and it would not 
help. Nothing could, because their ills 
are irremediable. 
I've had time to ponder this because 
I'm a poet, and also because of my 
junior position in the department. I do 
workhorse duty at the readings. I buy 
the white wine, oversee disposal of the 
folding chairs, serve as walker to visit- 
ing foreign dignitary poets and local dip- 
somaniac poets. I investigate reports of 
smoke in the can and throw out fresh- 
man poets sneaking butts. 
Garrett Palmer had won the 
Pinehurst. As I say, he shone and glowed 
in our eyes, but not everyone felt that 
way. 
"God, I hate that smug son of a bitch," 
Jimmy Danaan said. Danaan had dug in 
by the wine. He too was dressed in 
48  SUMMER  2005  WISCONSIN  ACADEMY  REVIEW 


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