TAMIU Instructor's Poem Receives Prestigious Spoon River Award

A Texas A&M International University instructor's poem has won a contest by a prestigious journal of poetry.

Dr. Suzette Bishop, creative writing instructor in the College of Arts and Humanities' Department of Language and Literature , has received an award of $1,000 from the Spoon River Poetry Review for having won the Editor's Prize contest with her poem titled, "Departing Iceland." Bishop's poem will be published in the upcoming fall issue of the journal.

Each year, the Illinois-based journal which has featured both established and emerging poets from the United States and around the world since 1974, selects one winner and two runners-up in the contest. According to Spoon River Poetry Review, this year, approximately 500 people submitted their works, averaging three poems each.

"I feel honored and excited," Dr. Bishop said, "It's a very nice recognition to get and I'm still in shock about it."

Bishop, who has been an instructor at TAMIU for the past three years, said her poem is a collage of experiences she had a few years ago.

"I was working as a technical writer for an air traffic control equipment company and during that time, my husband found out he had colon cancer. In my poem, I wanted to combine that aspect, the stresses of the job, and also, I was commuting a long distance to work at that time," Bishop said.

She said she cut sections of the brochure she prepared at her former job and combined them with details of her job and her husband's illness.

Bishop holds her doctorate 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 earned from Oberlin College.

She is the author of numerous poems including works 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 titled, "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