April 16, 2010

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Essence has named Bucknell University Professor of English Carmen Gillespie one of its "Forty Favorite Poets" in honor of the magazine's 40th anniversary. || View listing

"The list includes poetry greats like Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Alexander, Natasha Trethewey and others," said Shara McCallum, associate professor of English and director of the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell.

"It is a great pleasure to see Carmen's talent recognized in this way."

Scholar and author
Gillespie, who joined the Bucknell faculty in 2007, also serves as director of the Griot Institute of Africana Studies at Bucknell. She holds her doctorate from Emory University.

A scholar of American, African-American, and Caribbean literatures and cultures, Gillespie is the author of articles and poems that have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her poem, "Talkin' Back to Mama," was featured in the June 2008 edition of Essence.

She is the author of A Critical Companion to Toni Morrison (2007), nominated as the best single-authored book on the works of Toni Morrison, and the poetry chapbook, Lining the Rails (2008).

She is at work on two projects: Doormouth: Life Stories from the People of Barbados, and "No Clamor for A ...": Vernacular and the Collapse of Meaning in the Fictions of Toni Morrison. Her poetry manuscript, Jonestown: A Vexation, about the 1978 mass deaths in Guyana, was named one of three finalists for the 2009 Lotus Prize. She also has completed a book on the life and works of novelist Alice Walker, which will be published in 2011.

In 2005, Gillespie was the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship for Excellence in Poetry. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar and has received awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

"This recognition by Essence magazine was a complete surprise, and I am deeply humbled by the honor of inclusion in such company." Gillespie said.

Contact: Division of Communications