Our three winners of the 3QR Daniel Defoe Contest tapped into Defoe‘s eclectic heritage: political activist and economist; pioneer of the English novel; pamphleteer and political advisor; down-and-out debtor; modern myth-maker; and overall social rebel and rogue. These 21st century writers’ takes on Defoe’s life (1660-1731) are eclectic as well.
See featured images and slide at the top of the 3QR home page. Nancy Lind reimagines Defoe and his characters through the prism of peripheries: the castaway parrot, the reader, his man Friday. Salvatore Difalco channel’s Defoe’s penchant for controversy, including the precarious and complicated nature of Man’s hold on power in society. And Thomas Hackney has long pressed the boundaries of human insight and scientific endeavors, exploring the likelihood of life in the universe and, in his own words, a few of Defoe’s favorite topics: “‘New worlds,’ morality, politics and all.”
While Defoe’s writing was more direct and active than his early 18th century counterparts, the original title of his best-known work was far from spare: “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years, All Alone in an Un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having Been Cast on Shore by Shipwreck, Wherein All the Men Perished but Himself. With an Account how he was at last as Strangely Deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself.” As we approach the 300th anniversary of the publication of Robinson Crusoe in London in 1719, this summer seems an opportune time to pay tribute and feature modern kindred voices. We also pay special tribute to 3QR’s early featured poet, the renowned Mary Jo Salter, and her poem: Crusoe’s Footprint. Please also watch for an upcoming editor’s essay on the lasting influence of Defoe, as we continue to examine society and human nature in literature, journalism, and art. Later this year—in advance of the tricentennial.
First Place: Arm-In-Arm
Nancy Lind is a recently retired professor of English literature and a transplant from NY to CA. She is a lifetime Dickensian. Being the daughter of Scandinavian immigrants has influenced her greatly. Her poems have appeared in Impulse, Ibis Head, The Kerf, the Altadena Poetry Anthology (2015-2018), JOMP Poetry Anthology (2016-2018), the 34th Parallel, and other journals. She is a Pushcart nominee.
Second place: Last Quarter Moon
Salvatore Difalco‘s work has appeared in print and online, most recently in Gone Lawn, The Coil, Mannequin Haus and South Dakota Review. He splits his time between Toronto and Sicily.
Third place: The Service
Thomas Hackney has been a public relations executive, literary agent, stock broker, Doberman-Pinscher Distractor, and writer, among other things. He has lived mostly in Washington D.C., Greenwich Village (NYC) and West Virginia, where he currently resides in an earth-sheltered house. He has been writing and publishing since 1977.