University of San Francisco poet D.A. Powell is the winner of the 2010 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Harvard University Phi Beta Kappa poet of the year. Photo by Trane DeVore.
University of San Francisco poet D.A. Powell, the good news has been chronic,
you might say.
fact, Powell, associate professor of English, has been busy in recent months accepting
a number of national awards and critical approbation for his latest collection
of poems, titled Chronic.
25, Powell will be the guest poet at Harvard University’s esteemed Phi Beta
Kappa 2010 literary exercises – part of the university’s commencement program.
the most respected academic honor societies in the nation, Phi Beta Kappa has
honored literary luminaries since 1782. Past guest poets have included such
leading lights as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Frost, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
February, Powell was named the winner of one of the most prestigious prizes for
contemporary poetry, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, which includes a $100,000
purse. And in April, Powell won the Northern California Book Award for poetry –
just to name a few of his honors.
the Kingsley Tufts Prize was an enormous surprise and a thrill,” said Powell,
noting that the Tufts Prize often garners more attention because of its large
purse but that the Phi Beta Kappa recognition was just as important to him.
In Chronic, three chronic conditions overlay
everything in the collection: physical illness, environmental catastrophe, and
love. The conditions, in turn, become devices to explore and expand on how time
various conditions are made manifest through the chronicling of a relationship
with character called Haines Eason who appears throughout the collection as
both a lover and a scoundrel,” said Powell, who believes all poetry says the
same thing: that love, triumph, sadness, hope, illness – everything is