March 30 poet Primus St.John
Primus St. John, raised by West Indian grandparents, grew up in New York
City and for the past twenty-six years has taught literature and
creative writing at Portland State University. One of the first poets
published by Copper Canyon Press, he was one of the five artists who
inaugurated the NEA's Poets in the Schools program. St. John has
received wide recognition for his poetry, including a reading on
National Public Radio, an Oregon Book Award for Poetry, and a nomination
for the American Book Award. He's the author of several
collections of poetry, including SKINS ON THE EARTH (Copper Canyon),
IS NOT A CONSOLATION; IT IS a LIGHT (Carnegie Mellon), DREAMER (Carnegie
Mellon), and COMMUNION, Poems 1976-1998 (Copper Canyon), as well as editor
of two notable anthologies, ZERO MAKES ME HUNGRY (Scott-Foresman), and
HERE WE SPEAK (Oregon State University Press). Wrote the WASHINGTON FREE
PRESS, "St. John's DREAMER demands to be read with Robert Hayden's classic
poem 'Middle Passage" and Charles Johnson's novel of the same name. St.
John has followed Hayden's poetic techniques in masterfully blending
historical details of the slave trade with acute, contemporary
on the fuller meanings of those facts." William Stafford wrote, "St.
John's poetry helps us all feel related in one congenial humanity."
Available on campus by Primus St. John:
From Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry
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