How to Get Your Creative Best Cary Author Turns Her Lifetime Experiences into Poems, Essays

By Dixit, Uma | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 27, 2001 | Go to article overview
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How to Get Your Creative Best Cary Author Turns Her Lifetime Experiences into Poems, Essays


Dixit, Uma, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Uma Dixit Daily Herald Correspondent

She is a prolific and well-published writer, but the past 12 months have been especially rewarding for Cary resident Beth Copeland Vargo.

During this period, she has been recognized for her contributions to three literary genres - poetry, personal essay and short story.

The first reward came with last year's publication of her poetry book, "Traveling Through Glass," which won the 1999 Bright Hill Press National Poetry Book Award.

In March 2001, "Leaving Home" Copeland Vargo's essay on sending her daughter Sarah away to college, was selected from thousands of entries and was published with 100 other stories in "Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul 2."

And, "Painted Angels," Copeland Vargo's first attempt at a short story, was awarded the first prize in the 2000 Sheila K. Smith Short Story Competition from the League of American Pen Women, Nob Hill, San Francisco Branch.

Copeland Vargo rates the publication of "Traveling Through Glass" as her most significant achievement to date.

"This collection encompasses 20 years of work and symbolizes my determination as a writer. I had almost given up on publishing this manuscript," she said.

Born in Japan to missionary parents, Copeland Vargo grew up appreciating the power of language. Her father, a scholar of comparative religion, is the author of many textbooks. As the third among five children, Copeland Vargo took up writing poetry in order to come to terms with the insecurities of feeling overlooked as a middle child.

"I somehow felt lost in the shuffle. My older siblings were praised for being high-achievers in school, while the younger ones were made much of for being cute," she explained.

Raised mostly in Wake Forest, N.C., Copeland Vargo's identity as a writer also was defined by a nine-month stint in the Hindu pilgrimage center of Benares, India, where her father was a Fulbright scholar.

Living as isolated foreigners in an orthodox Indian town with widespread poverty was a harrowing experience for the entire family, but especially so for the adolescent Copeland Vargo who sought solace by writing poetry.

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