Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Courtby Lewis Turco
In 2004 Star Cloud Press of Scottsdale, Arizona, published both A Sheaf of Leaves: Literary Memoirs and The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court, the latest books by Lewis Turco who was the founding director of both the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, in 1962, and of the Program in Writing Arts at the State University of New York, from 1968 through 1995. He is the author of some 44 books, monographs and chapbooks including The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics (1968); Awaken, Bells Falling: Poems 1959-1968 (1968); The New Book of Forms (1986); Visions and Revisions of American Poetry (winner of the Poetry Society of America's 1986 Melville Cane Award for literary criticism); The Shifting Web: New and Selected Poems (1989), The Public Poet: Five Lectures on the Art and Craft of Poetry (1991); and Emily Dickinson: Woman of Letters, Poems and Centos from Lines in Emily Dickinson's Letters (1993). He was the 1997 winner, with his Italian translator Joseph Alessia, of the first annual Bordighera Bilingual Poetry Prize for his A Book of Fears (1998); a chapbook of memoirs, Shaking the Family Tree, was published simultaneously.
Mr. Turco has collaborated with various artists over the years. At S.U.N.Y. Oswego the poet collaborated first in 1966 with the printmaker Thom. Seawell in three poemprints. Their final collaboration was on a book, The Inhabitant, poems, with prints by Thom. Seawell, including the inspiration for the book a fold-out reproduction of a huge woodcut, "The House," by Seawell, both projects funded by summer Faculty Fellowships from the Research Foundation of State University of New York. The book was published by Despa Press in 1970. "While the Spider Slept," a ballet based upon his poem "November 22, 1963," choreographed by Brian Macdonald with music by Maurice Karkoff, was performed in 1968 and subsequently by the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. With the Dutch composer Walter Hekster Lewis Turco wrote and published a chamber opera, The Fog (Donemus, 1987).
Lewis Turco took the B. A. from the University of Connecticut in 1959 and the M. A. from the University of Iowa in 1962. In 1992 he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Alumni Association of the University of Connecticut; he was inducted into the Meriden, Connecticut, Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 1999 he received the John Ciardi Award for lifetime achievement in poetry sponsored by the periodical Italian Americana and the National Italian American Foundation. In May 2000 Mr. Turco received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Ashland University in Ohio. In June 2004 he was honored with a panel and gave a reading at the West Chester University Poetry Conference in Pennsylvania where the book Lewis Turco and His Work: A Celebration, edited by Steven E. Swerdfeger, was published by Star Cloud Press. He is listed in Who's Who in America and in The Encyclopedia of American Literature among other reference works.
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