Carina Finn ’10, currently enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program in poetry at the University of Notre Dame, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, an annual award that recognizes the best poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction published each year by independent presses and magazines.
Selections from Finn’s poem cycle “I Heart Marlon Brando,” which appeared in Seven Corners, have been named by its editor Steve Halle for Pushcart consideration. If chosen for the award, her work would appear in the 2012 edition of The Pushcart Prize — Best of the Small Presses anthology.
Finn says of the poems, “I was thinking of these as sorts of homophonic translations of English into English; I wanted to privilege the form/structure of the language over semantics. But they’re also about, in a way, this crisis of modernism — a desperate but ultimately futile attempt to find some kind of genuine truth at the center of human interaction. But the addressee of these poems is dead and the speaker knows it, so there’s a disconnect even before the breakdown of the language.”
She continues, amicably, “I feel like I’m giving the wrong answer at a Miss Poetry pageant.”
As a student at Sweet Briar, Finn graduated with high honors, won the Academy of American Poets prize, and wrote a full-length collection of poems and critical essays, “Girl: Automatic.”
Halle, who typically collaborates with a second reader to make Pushcart selections, found Finn’s poetry through her blog, and he’d previously published her “cinepoem,” “Belle of the B-movie.” They selected Finn’s poetry because her work “represents contemporary happenings in third-wave feminist poetics that have been labeled ‘Gurlesque,’ ” he said.
“I nominated a sequence of epistolary poems that all begin with ‘Dear Marlon Brando.’ Finn’s poem blends the stereotypically girly with the grotesque — think of the underbelly that corrupts a facade, think of putting cold cream on a sad clown. Finn’s ‘Dear Marlon Brando’ attacks contemporary language and disturbs the idea of the poetic image and inter-textuality.”