Local writer: Find yourself in literature

Christina Stafford

Akron native and Buchtel High School graduate A.Van Jordan is also a published, award-winning poet.

Jordan said his first real start in poetry happened while living in Washington, D.C., and working with the spoken word and local workshops.

“On Nov. 15, 1994, I really dedicated myself when I went to a reading by Cornelius Eady,” Jordan said. “(It was) transforming for me because I saw an African-American male poet whose poems related to my life.”

He won a 2002 Pen Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for his book Rise, which was published in 2001. His book of short poems, M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A, was published in 2004 and won the Whiting Writers’ Award and an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

He read some of his poems last night as part of the 2007 Wick Poetry Series in the Student Center.

“I like his work a lot,” said Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center. “I used his book for a graduate class I taught a couple years ago, and the students liked it.”

Currently, Jordan is an assistant professor in the English department at the University of Texas at Austin. He also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

“Read broadly,” Jordan said to aspiring poets, “but always find yourself in the literature.”

Contact College of Arts & Sciences reporter Christina Stafford at [email protected].