by Henry Walters
This week we will be hosting a writer named John Hodgen for three days, Monday-Wednesday. You'll recognize him by his baseball cap and a slightly bowlegged way of walking, as if he had just dismounted from a long ride on horseback.
As I tried to say this morning, it's not his personality or his private experiences that have led the English Department to invite him here, but something peculiar and jaw-dropping that he does with language: the ability to gather all the ribbons off a clothesline simultaneously while sledding underneath it at top speed. The ribbons of beauty, the ribbons of history, the ribbons of grief, of delight, of absurdity, of love: all of them at once! He has very large hands.
John Hodgen lives in Shrewsbury, MA. He is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Assumption College, and also teaches at Mount Wachusett Community College and the Worcester Art Museum. He is the author of Heaven & Earth Holding Company, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010, Grace, (winner of the 2005 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry), In My Father's House (winner of the 1993 Bluestem Award from Emporia State University in Kansas), and Bread Without Sorrow (2001, winner of the 2002 Balcones Poetry Prize) He has won the Grolier Prize for Poetry, an Arvon Foundation Award, the Yankee Magazine Award for Poetry, first prize in the Red Brick Review poetry competition, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Award in Poetry in 2000. He won the Chad Walsh Poetry Prize for the best poems published in Beloit Poetry Journal in 2008.
Several of his poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, and he was one of five finalists in the Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship Program. He was a finalist in Houghton Mifflin's New Poetry Series, Cleveland State University's Poetry Center Prize, Carnegie Mellon University's Poetry Series, and Northeastern University's Samuel French Morse Poetry Award. John's work has been included in the anthologies Witness and Wait: Thirteen Poets From New England and Something Understood ; We Teach Them All: Teachers Writing About Diversity; and Bone Cages.
The purpose of his visit is to bring a new perspective to the reading and writing that you are already doing: why you are doing it, what it's worth, and how you might make it even more meaningful, both to yourself and to others.
Copies of poems by John Hodgen will be left in your mailboxes this afternoon and on the radiator in the hallway of the lower FAB. You can also find poems he has written here.
And listed below are a few times during his visit when you might meet with John, ask him questions, show him a piece of your writing, or chew over your own ideas with him:
11:30 - 12:00 Lunch
6:00 - 6:45 Dinner
7:00 - 9:00 Tea at Writer's Cabin
8:30 - 10:00 Library "office hours"
11:30 - 12:00 Lunch
6:30 - 7:30 CLOSING READING (Putnam Art Gallery)
Your English teachers hope that the spark he brings to campus will keep smoldering in your own reading and writing, long after he leaves