Stephen Dunn, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for his collection of poetry, Different Hours, has been selected as the WVU English Departments inaugural Jackson Distinguished Visiting Professor for the 2002 fall semester.
Dunn will visit WVU Thursday, April 11, to give a reading and will return to join the English faculty in the fall. The reading is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Mountainlair Gold Ballroom, and is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow.
Director and Professor of Creative Writing Jim Harms says he is excited about the addition of Dunn to the creative writing staff.
“We arranged the reading over a year ago, before he won the Pulitzer, so our anticipation has done nothing but grow,”Harms explains.”Dunn is one of our nations best poets and a famously fine teacher, so were very lucky to have him visiting.”
Harms calls Dunn”a poet who ennobles the ordinary, who finds magic in the everyday, and who manages to be wise without being obscure. He makes poetry look easy, when in fact its one of the most demanding activities a person can engage in. If he were an outfielder hed be Willie Mays.”
In the fall, Dunn will teach a graduate workshop in poetry writing and deliver a second reading. He will also work with students individually on their creative writing projects.
“I think the biggest opportunity for our students is the access to an acknowledged master, and the chance to hear a new and very powerful voice in the workshop,”Harms notes.
The Jackson Distinguished Visiting Professorship was established in 1992 by George W. Jackson, a graduate of the WVU College of Law, in honor of his family, including daughter, Julie, who earned a B.A. in English in 1958. The Jackson College Endowment was also created to help with arts and sciences programs.
The purpose of the visiting position is to attract someone with distinguished credentials who would spend a semester teaching at WVU .
“Dunn was exactly the sort of person we were hoping to be able to bring to WVU ,”says Tim Adams, chair of the Department of English.”The department is grateful to the Jackson family and to the Eberly College for establishing the Jackson Distinguished Visiting Professorship.”
Dunn is a Trustee Fellow in the Arts and Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he teaches courses in poetry writing, fiction writing, contemporary world poetry and American literature.
He earned his B.A. in history and English from Hofstra University in 1962 and attended the New School Writing Workshops from 1964 to 1966. Dunn earned his M.A. in creative writing from Syracuse University in 1970.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Dunns honors include being a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the James Wright Prize; the Levinson Award from Poetry magazine; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey Council on the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at Columbia University, Princeton University and the University of Michigan.