Dr. Margarita Pintado, assistant professor of Spanish at Ouachita Baptist University, recently won first prize in the poetry category of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture’s (ICP) 2015 Literature Awards for her manuscript “A Girl Who Looks Like Me.”
“We are proud of Dr. Pintado for winning this prestigious award,” said Dr. Jeff Root, dean of OBU’s School of Humanities. “She is fully engaged as a professional, and Ouachita students benefit from her expertise as a poet and scholar of language and culture. Clearly, her students in Spanish classes benefit from her vast knowledge, but our English majors also have her perspective as a poet in creative writing courses.”
Pintado began working on her poetry collection when she moved to Arkadelphia four years ago. When she submitted her work into this year’s competition, she did so with confidence. “I thought I had a real chance to win,” she explained. “Still, I could not believe it when I got the call with the news. I was beyond excited.”
The ICP Literature Awards is comprised of five different categories: poetry, short stories, novels, children’s literature and literature. As the winner of the poetry category, Pintado will receive a $3,000 cash prize and her book will be published in the ICP Collection of Literature Awards.
“Getting this award is great because more people get to know you,” Pintado explained. “You get invited to the book fair and other events, you get a contract for five years so you know your book will be edited and printed for that time and, of course, getting an award feels like a validation, a confirmation of the quality of your work.”
For Pintado, writing is not just a passion. It is a tool that she can use to gain perspective of, and interact with, the world around her.
“I write for the same reason other people engage in so many different artistic expressions: because I want to know myself better, because I want to understand the world in which I live, because I want to find some meaning to the human experience and, hopefully, to add some of that meaning too,” she said.
“I specifically write poetry because I am mostly interested in the power of the image,” Pintado added. “The whole universe fits in one verse. I like the intensity, the playfulness and the apparent disengagement of the poem. Poets are often seen as people who live in their own world, but it is quite the opposite. They are so intensely present in this world that they need to testify to it.”
For more information contact Ouachita’s School of Humanities at (870) 245-5522.
By Anna Hurst