Saturday, January 09, 2010

Reg Gibbons Chicagoan of the Year for Literature + Some RIPs

Slowly I have been making my way through my university email account, and so it wasn't until just the other day that I learned that my esteemed colleague Reginald Gibbons, a writer of multifarious talents (a poet whose volume Creatures of a Day (LSU Press) was a 2008 National Book Award finalist, a fiction writer, an essayist, a translator, an editor, among so much else); scholar and teacher; mentor and friend to colleagues and students; administrator and program head; and literary and cultural activist, was named "Chicagoan of the Year" for Literature by the Chicago Tribune! The blurb about him reads:

Reginald Gibbons is a poet, essayist, translator and professor of English at Northwestern University. He edited TriQuarterly, one of the nation's premier literary magazines, for 16 years. This year, Gibbons added another line to his resume: muse. A woman whose work he long championed, Angela Jackson, saw the publication of her first novel, “Where I Must Go” (2009).
This of course only scratches the surface; check out Reg's website here, which includes his richly insightful blog and a listing of his many publications. Emerging poets might find his "A Few Cells from the Great Hive: a reading list for new poets" especially useful. He co-directs the university's graduate MA/MFA program, which he helped to create, while also serving as director of the Center for Writing Arts, and teaching in three different departments. I often speak of "greatness" and "amazing" people on this blog, and Reg is one of the people who fits both descriptions. Congratulations, Reg!


So as not to turn this blog into an obituaries column, I will only note in passing the recent deaths of such figures as Percy Sutton, the businessman, former Manhattan borough president and Malcolm X's lawyer; Dennis Brutus, one of South Africa's major poets and anti-apartheid activist, whom I witnessed announce live, at the Celebration of Black Writing in Philadelphia, that Nelson Mandela had been released from jail, causing the entire auditorium to cheer and weep for joy; Eunice Johnson, the longtime treasurer of the Johnson publishing business and the pioneering founder of the Ebony Fashion Fairs and cosmetics line; the feminist scholar theologian, philosopher and writer Mary Daly, many years resident as a professor at Boston College, whose works include the Wickedary; the great Color Field painter Kenneth Noland, one of the leading lights of American painting; and, perhaps least known among all of them but a figure whose name I heard all throughout my undergraduate years, because several good friends were studying the European classics, Ihor Sevcenko, whose field was Byzantine history and literatures. To all of them, resquiescant in pace.

No comments:

Post a Comment