Pushcart Nomination 2021

Larina and Mark Warnock, Tubman State Park

We have held ourselves together by threads / made more of magic than science.

~Larina Warnock

I am honored that my poem “Love Under Threat of Cancer” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Autumn Sky Poetry Daily.

Mark and I have been married nearly 25 years. There’s a history of breast cancer in the family, and I have an autoimmune disease which increases my risk. Three times, I’ve been called back after my annual mammogram after abnormal findings. The last time was abnormal enough they now have me having an MRI halfway through the year and a mammogram at the end of the year, just to be sure. Sometimes the rational self isn’t quite aligned with the emotional self. Even knowing that breast cancer is among the most survivable, each time I’m called back, we hold our breath until all the tests are done. This poem is personal and true and I am so glad it spoke to others as well.

Where We Store Shame publication

My essay “Where We Store Shame” was recently published in Oregon Humanities. This essay represents the first time I have written deeply and personally about my parents, some of the ways we experienced poverty, and how I’ve tried to make sense of it all. It is, perhaps, the best of my writing. Or perhaps I just really needed to write it. You can read the essay here.

Like many first-generation college students, I believed education would alter the future so much it would erase any lingering trace of the past. So while my dad collected experiences and my mom collected stuff, I collected knowledge. 

-Larina Warnock, Where We Store Shame

I want to take a moment to thank Ben Waterhouse and Sarah Currin-Moles from Oregon Humanities for their work with this essay. I cannot think of any editor I’ve worked with in the past that not only helped me make the piece better, but also thoroughly protected the spirit of the piece and demonstrated compassion for what the piece meant to me as an author. I also want to thank the illustrator, Madeline Martinez. Her work beautifully complemented the essay. I cried when I saw it. You can find more of her work here.