Rusty Morrison

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Rusty Morrison is an American poet and publisher. She received a BA in English from Mills College in Oakland, California, an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, California, and an MA in Education from California State University, San Francisco. She has taught in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco, and was Poet in Residence at Saint Mary’s College in 2009. She has also served as a visiting poet at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Redlands, Redlands, California; University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Boise State University, Boise, Idaho; Marylhurst University, Marylhurst, Oregon, and Milikin University, Decatur, Illinois. In 2001, Morrison and her husband, Ken Keegan, founded Omnidawn Publishing in Richmond, California and continue to work as co-publishers. She contracted Hepatitis C in her twenties but, like most people diagnosed with this disease, did not experience symptoms for several years. Since then, a focus on issues relating to disability has developed as an area of interest in her writing.

Poetics[edit]

Because her disability has greatly affected Morrison's life, it is no surprise that her affliction has worked its way into her poetics. Morrison believes her poetry functions as translations. In essence, she feels that her work–––in a seemingly therapeutic manner–––translates bodily pain (the language of the body) into spoken and written language. In the anthology Beauty is a Verb, Morrison writes, "As a poet, I have experienced directly the ways that a formal constraint can hone the clarity, intensity, and inspired power of a writing project. In similar ways, a physical constraint, such as illness, can engender surprising perceptual attunement in the body" (Morrison 325).

When interviewed, Rusty had this to say about her poetics and disability: "I feel that illness has been a profound teacher, its lessons of limitation have opened me, and deepened my relationship to the formal work of the poem, the physical body of the poem/its form, and how that is always speaking a language that is embedded in content” (Morrison).

For Morrison, a constraint allows creativity to take place.

Honors and awards[edit]

Each year links to its corresponding "[year] in poetry" article:

  • 2012: (Forthcoming) Fellowship Award for a four-week Residency at the Vermont Studio Center
  • 2010: Dorset Prize, Tupelo Press, selected by Jane Hirshfield (book forthcoming 2012: After Urgency)[1]
  • 2009: Poet in Residence, MFA in Creative Writing Program, Saint Mary’s College, Spring 2009[2]
  • 2009: George Bogin Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, selected by John Yau[3]
  • 2009: Northern California Book Award for Poetry (for the true keeps calm biding its story)[4]
  • 2008: James Laughlin Award, Academy of American Poets, selected by Rae Armantrout, Claudia Rankine, and Bruce Smith (for the true keeps calm biding its story)
  • 2007: Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University, Idaho, selected by Peter Gizzi (for the true keeps calm biding its story)
  • 2007: Alice Di Castagnola Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, selected by Susan Howe (for manuscript in progress: the true keeps calm biding its story)[5]
  • 2006: Cecil Hemley Memorial Award, Poetry Society of America, selected by Cal Bedient[6]
  • 2004: Colorado Prize for Poetry, The Center for Literary Publishing, Colorado State University, selected by Forrest Gander (for Whethering)[7]
  • 2003: Robert H. Winner Award, Poetry Society of America, selected by Ron Padgett[8]
  • 2002: Lori & Deke Hunter Fellowship (five week residency), Djerassi Resident Artists Program

Published works[edit]

Full-Length Poetry Collections[edit]

Each year links to its corresponding "[year] in poetry" article:

  • 2008: the true keeps calm biding its story. Ahsahta Press. January. ISBN 978-0-916272-98-2.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • 2004: Whethering. Center for Literary Publishing, Colorado State University. January. ISBN 978-1-885635-07-5.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Chapbook Collections[edit]

Periodicals and Anthologies[edit]

Morrison's work has been included in an anthology for the literary study of disability, titled Beauty is a Verb. Morrison’s poems have also appearedin literary journals and magazines including American Poetry Review, Boston Review,[9] Chicago Review,[10] Colorado Review,[11] Gulf Coast, Lana Turner,[12] New American Writing,[13] Pleiades,[14] Verse, and VOLT. Her critical writings and creative nonfictions have been published in journals including Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Poetry Flash,[15] Verse, and in the anthology One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe (Sarabande 2010).[16]

Reviews[edit]

Indeed, the remarkable correctness of language in The True Keeps Calm Biding its Story is its most incredible feature. Each individual line is condensed to a nearly symmetrical assemblage. Each poem is similarly made up of these constellated lines. Their stability is inherent, though each leads into the emptiness of mystery. Repeated descriptions (frilled edges, cursive letters, an open window, a stage) which flicker through the whole offer a slim patterning. None of these poems stands as well in isolation. The extraordinarily delicate exposure of Morrison’s voice provides a ground on which to read the world. The True Keeps Calm Biding its Story is its own namesake: a small quiet patience within infinitely larger concentric universes of quiet patience.[17]

In Rusty Morrison’s the true keeps calm biding its story, a sense of community, or even of communication between the poet and the reader, might easily be the last thing on a reader’s mind. Morrison’s collection dramatically foregrounds form—each poem consists of three stanzas of three unpunctuated lines, each line is right-justified, and each line ends with the word ‘stop’, ‘please’, or ‘advise.’ ... A hope here, that repetition that might clear off the trappings of material existence, lead us beyond this world and to some other place. Or maybe, as Robert Fink has written, in a study of Minimalist music, “We repeated ourselves into this culture. We might be able to repeat ourselves out.”[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "> 2009 Contest Winners". Tupelo Press. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ Saint Mary’s College > MFA in Creative Writing > Visiting Faculty Archived June 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Poetry Society of America > Winners List[dead link]
  4. ^ Poetry Flash > Northern California Book Awards
  5. ^ "Poetry Society of America > Awards > Past Winners". Poetrysociety.org. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Poetry Society of America > Awards > Past Winners". Poetrysociety.org. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Colorado Prize for Poetry > Previous Winners". Coloradoreview.colostate.edu. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Poetry Society of America > Awards > Past Winners". Poetrysociety.org. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "''Boston Review'' November/December 2007". Bostonreview.net. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "''Chicago Review''". Highbeam.com. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  11. ^ "''Standards'' > Contributor Bios". Colorado.edu. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  12. ^ "SPDBooks.org". SPDBooks.org. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  13. ^ "''New American Writing''". Newamericanwriting.com. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  14. ^ "''Pleiades'' > Volume 23, Number 2". Ucmo.edu. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  15. ^ Poetry Flash #287
  16. ^ "> ''One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe''". Sarabande Books. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  17. ^ Daniel Casey (January 1, 2009). "Telegraph as Ouija: Colie Collen reviews Rusty Morrison's The True Keeps Calm Biding its Story". Gently Read Literature. 
  18. ^ Robb St. Lawrence (02.03). "A Thing to Worry Our Way Through: Review of Rusty Morrison's the true keeps calm biding its story". Phoebe.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]