Wednesday, February 6, 2013
OU professor up for prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant
In 2011, Oakland University professor Edward Haworth Hoeppner released his poetry collection “Blood Prism” to critical acclaim. Now, the award-winning volume is back in the spotlight as one of three finalists for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
The prestigious prize, based at Claremont Graduate University, is presented annually to a poet in mid-career and carries a $100,000 cash award – the largest payout for a single collection of poetry. The winner will be announced in March.
“Blood Prism” initially gained attention after being selected from hundreds of entries for the 2010 Ohio State University Press Award in Poetry. This was the first national award for Dr. Hoeppner, whose literary output includes two other poetry books and nearly 300 poems. He has also published a critical study, “Echoes and Moving Fields: Structure and Subjectivity in the Poetry of W.S. Merwin and John Ashbery.”
“I'm very pleased that Blood Prism has gotten this kind of attention,” said Dr. Hoeppner, who is entering his 25th year in OU’s Department of English. “I've always written from my own experience, and have tried very hard to write highly imagistic and distinctively fresh poems line-by-line.”
Penned over several years, the poems in “Blood Prism” span a lifetime and are divided into three sections: “Memory,” “Politics” and “Age.” Each reflects on the idea of blood in different ways. In particular, the second section grapples with what Dr. Hoeppner describes as “the alteration in reality” that seemed to follow the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“Not that these poems deal specifically with that event," he added, “But they do try to move the imagination to the world of history and political realities.”
Along with his writing and teaching responsibilities, Dr. Hoeppner serves as director of the university’s newly launched creative writing program, which currently offers a Bachelor of Arts degree with tracks in poetry and fiction. About 40 students have enrolled in the major and plans are underway to establish tracks in screen and television writing. When guiding a new crop of aspiring writers, Dr. Hoeppner and his colleagues routinely bring their creative experiences into the classroom.
“The entire principle behind creative writing programs and workshops is that instructors have to be able to use years of experience as successful writers to help students learn the craft,” said Dr. Hoeppner. “This is a wonderful time to be writing poetry – there is just so much going on, there are so many different kinds of poetry getting attention.”