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A poem a day for one English professor

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at dickinsonh@beloit.edu or 608-363-2849

Some people make a point to exercise or eat right daily, but Rebecca Hazelton Stafford has set out to write a poem every day throughout the month of October as part of an activity with her friends.   

Dubbed “Poem-A-Day,” the Visiting Assistant Professor of English sends each day’s poem to the group’s listserv and then posts the title on her website: http://www.rebeccahazelton.net/  

Stafford has done “Poem-A-Day” once before, and compares it to running a marathon. Though it can be grueling, she said the accountability aspect of it keeps her committed to her poetry.

Some of her poems so far this month are about animals, which is a subject that interests her. In fact, Stafford is currently working on a manuscript that centers on animals and the contradiction that arises from people maintaining they are nothing like them even though they share so many of the same instincts when it comes to mating and searching for food.

Stafford has also recently begun submitting to various publications a manuscript titled, Vow, inspired by the genre of the pillow book. Her other manuscript, Fair Copy, is a collection of acrostic poems that directly engage with lines from Emily Dickinson’s poetry. It has been a finalist and semi-finalist for several awards, including the Walt Whitman prize, the Dorset prize, and the Tupelo Press 1st/2nd book prize.

“Poetry allows me to most accurately express the way I think,” Stafford said. “In everyday speech, you have to make concessions to politeness and you have to make sure you get the point across appropriately; but, in poetry I can express how I think rather than how I have to think for other people.”

SOURCE: Rebecca Hazelton Stafford has taught introduction to creative writing, intermediate poetry workshops, courses on poetic technique and creative nonfiction, and various literature courses on the short story. In addition to her Ph.D in English and Creative Writing from Florida State University, she was a Jay C. and Ruth Hall Poetry Fellow at the Creative Writing Institute at University of Wisconsin- Madison last year. She has published widely in journals such as FIELD, Pleiades, The Sycamore Review, Conjunctions, and Nimrod. Stafford can serve as a media resource on topics related to her writing specialties and teaching interests. A full bio is available at http://www.beloit.edu/english/faculty/.

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