TAMIU Professor Wins International Poetry Book Contest

A Texas A&M International University faculty member's dream of breaking into the mainstream of book publishing came true when she recently won an international poetry book contest.

Dr. Suzette Bishop (photo), creative writing instructor in the Language and Literature Department, has won The May Swenson Poetry Award and $1,000 for a book manuscript that was chosen from 800 others submitted from countries including Japan, England, Canada and Australia.

May Swenson was one of America's most provocative and vital poets. She was a native of Utah and left a legacy of 50 years of writing when she died in 1989.

Dr. Bishop's manuscript was chosen by poet Alicia Ostricker and will be published this summer by Utah State University Press under the title, She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes.

A total of 1,000 paperback copies will be published at first, with more copies to be published later.

"I am thrilled, very excited, and very honored," Bishop said, "I admire Alicia Ostricker's work, so I'm glad she was the judge and liked my work."

Bishop said poems in her book cover three aspects: autobiography, women artists and homelessness and poverty.

"Some of the poems have been around for 10 years and some of them are new," Bishop said, explaining that she began developing an interest in writing after she took a creative writing class in college.

"I realized I liked working with metaphors and similes, that I had an ear for language and could create pictures with words," she said.

Last July, Bishop won the Editor's Prize contest of the Spoon River Poetry Review, a prestigious journal of poetry.

She holds a doctoral degree in creative writing from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY). Her MFA in creative writing was completed at the University of Virginia and her bachelor's in English was earned from Oberlin College.

She is the author of numerous poems including those published in The Antioch Review, The Albany Review, The Little Magazine, Virago Book of Birth Poetry, and Eratica. She has also published a chapbook of poetry entitled "Cold Knife Surgery."

She has participated in numerous poetry readings including those organized by the South Central Modern Language Association in Dallas, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, the University of Tulsa, SUNY, and Oberlin College.

In addition, Bishop has received several honors and awards such as inclusion in The International Who's Who in Poetry and Poets'Encyclopaedia, nominee selection for the Pushcart Prize and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project, and honorable mention by the Academy of American Poets. She was a finalist for the Stegner Fellowship (Stanford University) and was selected for the Johnston Fund for Women Writers under the Oberlin Alumni Graduate Fellowship.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180, e-mail pais@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu