PUTNEY -- Diana Lischer-Goodband was first exposed to writing just as many of us were -- in school.
"We all grew up learning to write," she said.
But it wasn't until her time at Vermont College her calling became clear.
"Really, there was an emphasis on writing, and I found that to be very inspirational, and so I created a short story and a poem as part of my senior thesis on black bears," she said. "It was a multidimensional kind of senior thesis where I looked at a subject, the black bear, from cultural and literary points of view."
When one of her Black Bear pieces, a poem, won 10th honorable mention in the Anthology of New England Writers, Lischer-Goodband began to take herself -- and her work -- much more seriously.
"I had never really thought about putting a poem out for a contest, so I did, and they gave it an award right off the bat," she said. "I thought, ‘Well, that's a sign.'"
Lischer Goodband is a poet, farmer and professional grant writer for the Student Conservation Association in Charlestown, N.H. She has lived with her orchardist husband, Ezekiel, on their 200-year-old farm in Dummerston for over 30 years. She has worked as a columnist for the Brattleboro Reformer and The Commons, and has been a contributor to Vermont Public Radio. Her poetry has been published in the Larcom Review and the Anthology of New England Writers.
She was recently awarded the 2012 Ralph Nading Hill Jr.
The Ralph Nading Hill Jr. Literary Award is among the highest of honors a Vermont writer can receive. In addition to the recognition, Lischer-Goodband will receive a $1,500 prize.
"Dreaming of Apples" is a poem about the labor of love that is an apple Orchard.
"The apples have to go through pruning; you have to mow the orchard in the spring and summer, and then I just have to wait. So it's a real anticipatory poem where you're just craving something but you've got to wait," said Lischer-Goodband.
The evocative language and feathery prose made this poem a standout to this year's panel of judges, which included Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life magazine; Alison Freeland, winner of the 1994 Ralph Nading Hill Jr. Literary Award; and Tony Marro, past executive editor of Newsday.
"You can't help but smile reading it," said Hegarty Nowlan. "The author's passion for apples is endearing, and the poem's literary references and evocative images add an additional level of enjoyment. It's a wonderful contemporary poem."
"I really was dreaming of those apples," said Lischer-Goodband.
Lucas Hall is a summer intern with the Reformer.