‘Her Texas: Story, Image, Poem & Song’ Wins First Place in the 2016 Press Women of Texas Communications Contest, Competes for National Awards

April 19, 2016
Her Texas

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321
WACO, Texas (April 19, 2016) – “Her Texas: Story, Image, Poem & Song,” an anthology edited by Baylor faculty and alumni, recently won first place in the 2016 Press Women of Texas Communications Contest in the edited work category and is now entered in the national contest.
The “Her Texas” co-editors are Cassy Burleson, Ph.D., senior lecturer in journalism, public relations and new media in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences; Donna Walker-Nixon, Ph.D., part time lecturer in English; Rachel Crawford, former Ph.D. student at Baylor, now working on her doctorate in English through the University of Texas at Dallas; and Ashley Palmer, Ph.D. (Sociology) ’14 and M.A. (Sociology) ’08, specialist in gender studies.
“‘Her Texas’ represents the contemporary nature of convergent art. Just as journalism converged, art has converged. ‘Her Texas’ is now more than just a book. It’s become a community of artists, many of whom worked in isolation, who have found kindred spirits with whom they are joined at the heart, even if they’re not from Texas. My hope is that the men and women who read the book will find the same inclusiveness,” Burleson said.
“Her Texas” is an anthology of literature, art and music produced by 60 women from across the state. The book offers a variety of multicultural, multiethnic and multidisciplinary works by authors who all have something different to offer.
“What’s great is that this award is being shared by all 60 women. They represent diverse ethnicities, points of view, core values, education levels, genres and styles of art, whether it’s word painting, song painting, photographic painting or actual painting,” Burleson said.
Co-editor Rachel Crawford’s story “First Names” appears in the book and won first place in the creative work category at the contest and will advance to the national competition.
“Rachel Crawford has done so much to turn this book into the success that it is,” Walker-Nixon said. “In addition to contacting the contributors and maintaining our website and Facebook page, she has started to gain much deserved venues for her poetry and other creative works.”
Crawford describes her experience working on the book as “a great experience all around.” Aside from working with her co-editors, the work with dynamic female poets, writers, songwriters, photographers and artists from around the state was a highlight.
“I’m proud to be associated with the Press Women of Texas, an organization known for its early support of women’s suffrage and its longstanding support of the First Amendment and of women in careers across the communication spectrum,” Crawford said. “I am very proud, too, to be associated with all the powerfully creative women of ‘Her Texas.’”
The judges’ remarks about “Her Texas” stated, “This ambitious collection by 60 creative Texas women fulfills its mission largely due to excellent editing. Organization guides the reader to and through the various experiences from a female perspective providing an insider point of view to the body of Texas literature. Biographies and bibliography add research value to the well-organized contents.”
“I have always been aware of the vibrant power of women’s voices in literature, the arts, and even in the sciences,” Walker-Nixon said. Continuing on, in an attempt to depict the women included in the anthology, she reflected back to a relationship with a well-respected friend who, though not included in the anthology, reflects the heart behind the book.
“I recently attended the memorial service of my dear friend Lilla Barnes. She lived to be 99. We met when she attended a creative writing group that I formed in 1992, and early on she told me about her earliest memory. She was 4 and her father faced down a hanging mob in Waco. Later, she left her home with her husband when she had a vision of implementing integration before the school district was ready to move forward. She had spunk and spirit, and that is what ‘Her Texas’ is all about, focusing on these types of visionaries,” she said.
Specific names to look for when reading the book include Jan Seale, former Texas Poet Laureate; Elizabeth Bates, Ph.D., Baylor assistant professor of journalism, public relations and new media; Danielle Brown Kilgo, M.A. in (Journalism) ’13; and Helen Kwiatkowski, professor of Art at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and painter, well known for her “Little Helen” series.
“I think ‘Her Texas’ both renewed and introduced friendships among Texas women,” Seale said. “Collected there, our voices are heard in their strengths, interests and concerns and in a timely and powerful way.”
“Her Texas” can be purchased for $29.95. Proceeds benefit ovarian and breast cancer research.
by Bethany Harper, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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