In celebration of CSU’s sesquicentennial, the College of Liberal Arts asked emeriti faculty to share memories of their time at CSU. Their stories will be featured each Friday during the month of February. See all “Faculty Friday” features here.
Years at CSU: 1964-2003
Academic specialization: Creative Writing: Poetry
1. Describe a success you had while at CSU.
One of the most memorable experiences I had while teaching at CSU was the recognition I received when in 1996 I was named by the governor to the post of Poet Laureate of Colorado. To celebrate, then President Al Yates hosted a lovely dinner for me and 40 guests at his home in Fort Collins at which he presented me with a stylized crystal ram.
The College of Liberal Arts also recognized my term as Poet Laureate by reducing my work load and providing me with funds for support/travel.
The CSU Department of English is celebrating 80 years of being a stand-alone department in 2020. Hear from more past and present English faculty and staff about the department’s history by visiting the English@80 webpage.
2. Describe a special moment, experience, or relationship you had while in the spaces of the Liberal Arts.
Because the English Department had, during my early years at the university, an annual visiting professor, I was able to meet and become friends with the distinguished Chilean novelist and short story writer, Jose Donoso. One of his most famous novels, The Obscene Bird of Night, was completed as a result of his stay in Fort Collins; he found in this experience the imagery and impetus he needed when an ulcer led to internal bleeding that put his life in danger. Faculty at CSU (from several departments) took the place of family who had remained in Spain and sat by his bedside while he recuperated.
My friendship with Donoso lasted until his death and provided me with insight into Latin American life and literature. I visited his home in Santiago several times and he lent me his seaside cottage at Zapallar on the Pacific coast. He also returned to CSU to speak.
3. Share any other stories or memories you’d like us to know
The College of Liberal Arts supported my research through frequent grants which helped me to travel to Latin America and undertake the work which led to my anthology of Latin American Women Poets, Woman Who Has Sprouted Wings, and to my books of poetry translation, From the Country of Nevermore: Poems by Jorge Teillier [Chile]; Vertical Poetry: Recent Poems and Vertical Poetry: Last Poems by Roberto Juarroz [Argentina]; Engravings Torn from Insomnia: Poems by Olga Orozco
[Argentina]. During this travel, I was able to meet poets from all over Latin America and to write many of my own poems which featured my travels in Latin America [Borders] and other countries [I Have Tasted the Apple and Addicted to the Horizon]. Without this support, I would not have been able to do this translating and writing.