Melanie Swetz, head of the Department of English and librarian at Bilkent Erzurum Laboratory School (BELS), has been honored for the second time both by the Norman Mailer Center and the Bridport Arts Centre for her poetry.
Ms. Swetz was awarded a second scholarship to attend the Norman Mailer Writers Colony this year. She and two other poets spent one week this summer at Normal Mailer’s home inBrooklynHeightsand at the Brooklyn Heights Historical Society. Last summer, she spent two weeks at Mailer’s home inProvince town on Cape Cod. As a returning scholar, she continued to explore the architecture of language with American poet Quincy Troupe.
The Bridport Arts Centre (UK) has shortlisted one of her poems from among 7,700 entries for the 2013 Bridport Prize for Poetry. The shortlisted poem, “Rio,” is about a Brazilian beach, a topical subject in view of the upcoming World Cup and Olympics in that country.
Ms. Swetz, a veteran English and drama teacher, began writing poetry 15 years ago inWest Africa. She describes how it happened: “The poems would fall out with great plunks, just like the mangoes and avocados from the trees outside my kitchen window. With care, I would catch them, or bend down and pick them up from the ground.” She gets her poetic inspiration from everyday things around her or events in her life, like cups of coffee, trips to exotic places or shopping expeditions.