"There's this feeling you have about [people] you like, that they'll always be there," says E.V. Noechel about her winning poem. "Even when you know everything is temporary, there's something in the back of your mind that says 'no, it's not.' But it is. And we lose them." A native of Florida, Noechel has moved several times in her life, spending time in Georgia and Tennessee before landing in North Carolina. Poetry, unlike the kind of friendship she describes in "Instant," has been a constant in her life since high school, when she studied with a "sculptor/philosophy professor/poet who looked like Socrates."
An animal defender and vegan advocate, much of Noechel's free time is devoted to educating people on animal issues. She works for Independent Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization that helps abandoned animals find safe, loving homes. "I'd love to go to work one day to discover we're no longer needed," says Noechel. "Until then, I'm fielding calls, adoption counseling and educating everyone I can."
Noechel has been published in CQ, Spelunker Flophouse, The Lyricist and other literary magazines. In 1999, she was a runner-up in The Independent Poetry Contest, and has been a featured reader at the Austin International Poetry Festival. Despite these successes, she finds "the business end" the hardest aspect of poetry.
"Examining a single photo," says contest judge Luis Rodriguez of Noechel's poem, "the reader feels not only the touch and look of it, but also the story behind the smile and face, beyond the chemicals on paper." He explains that the poem "pushes up a whole world through its spareness and singularity of subject--like the tips of icebergs--the way good poems should do."