I found out a few days ago that my manuscript, Bathsheba Transatlantic, was awarded The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. Anhingo Press is actually going to publish the book sometime in late Fall of this year. I suppose there must be some form of hope when one enters a contest (otherwise the Lotto might be a better place to invest the $25 reading fee), but at least in my case, my hope didn't mitigate the immense surprise I felt when CSU Fresno called to tell me I'd won. I literally fell to my knees.
I don't believe in the God described in the Judeo-Christian bibles, and I admit little familiarity with other versions. But at that moment I genuinely wanted some higher power to thank. I felt such gratitude and joy! I suppose it is in such extreme moments of emotion that one looks for outside forces. Of course my best friend said that my desire to seek causality outside myself is rooted in my gender. A man would ascribe any such success to their own powers. A woman sees another hand. Maybe.
I did, however, spend hours crafting notes to the teachers and poets who worked with me over the years. I do worship some of them, or at least their work, or at least their work ethic. Perhaps that counts.