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Award-winning writer holds Acuff Chair in the Creative Arts this fall

Austin Peay welcomes renowned writer Michael C. Blumenthal as the occupant of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts for fall.

Professor Barry Kitterman, coordinator of Austin Peays Creative Writing Program, says, Its exciting to have a poet at APSU who is recognized nationally and internationally for his work and who also has such a remarkably diverse education and background.

As the poet Stanley Kunitz has said, the first job of an artist is to become the person who can make the art. Michael Blumenthal is something of a renaissance man.
Austin Peay welcomes renowned writer Michael C. Blumenthal as the occupant of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts for fall.

Professor Barry Kitterman, coordinator of Austin Peay's Creative Writing Program, says, “It's exciting to have a poet at APSU who is recognized nationally and internationally for his work and who also has such a remarkably diverse education and background.

“As the poet Stanley Kunitz has said, the first job of an artist is to become the person who can make the art. Michael Blumenthal is something of a renaissance man.”

Blumenthal earned a jurisdoctorate (with honors) from Cornell Law School in 1974. His master's degree from Antioch University is in clinical psychology. With a double major in economics and philosophy, he earned a bachelor's degree from SUNY-Binghamton.

He is the author of six books of poetry, his most recent being “Dusty Angel,” which received the Isabella Gardner Prize from BOA Editions. His novel, “Weinstock Among the Dying,” was awarded the 1994 Harold U. Ribalow Prize for Fiction.

He has published short stories in such journals as “Ploughshares” and “Formations,” and a collection of his essays, titled “When History Enters the House: Central European Essays, 1992-1996,” was published in 1998.

In 2002, Harper Collins published Blumenthal's non-fiction memoir, “All My Mothers and Fathers.” His poems have been anthologized widely in such venues as “The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry,” “The Harvard Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry,” “The Bread Loaf Anthology of American Poetry,” “The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets” and “The Pushcart Prize Anthology.”

From 1988-93, he was an associate professor and director of the Creative Writing Program at Harvard University, while continuing to publish widely.

More recently, he was Senior Fulbright Lecturer in American literature and creative writing at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He also was Visiting Professor of English at the University of Haifa in Israel, Senior Fulbright Professor of American Literature at the Free University of Berlin and Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at several American universities.

This fall, Blumenthal returns to the United States and APSU after living several years in Paris, France.

Although writing is his passion, Blumenthal enjoys teaching, also. In a letter to Kitterman, Blumenthal said, “I am … not one of those writer/teachers who considers teaching to be a necessary evil that must, for purely economic reasons, accompany a writer's life.

“I have a strong and enduring commitment to teaching, as well as to my own work, and a deep belief in the nobility of trying to create poetry and other literature, a belief that I have always attempted to communicate to my students with integrity and honesty.”

For more information about Blumenthal's activities while at APSU, telephone Kitterman at (931) 221-7878.
—Dennie Burke