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Poetry Award Presented for the First Time
Honors UW-Eau Claire Professor Emeritus

RELEASED: May 30, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — The Kirkwood Poetry Award was presented for the first time at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire English Festival, May 2, to Abigail Lynne Zimmer. Zimmer, a senior from Shorewood/Sheboygan, majoring in English, received the award for the poem "When Uganda Stopped Counting," a sestina about the waste and futility of war.

The Kirkwood Poetry Award was established through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation by alumna Suzanne Bardouche to honor Richard Kirkwood, a UW-Eau Claire professor emeritus of English, and will be presented annually at the English Festival.

Bardouche, director of finance in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, said Richard Kirkwood was an important influence on her.

"I remember how Professor Kirkwood paid attention to students and listened intently to what they had to say," Bardouche, who received a bachelor of arts degree in English from UW-Eau Claire in 1975, said. "What I learned from professor Kirkwood is that the greatest gift we can give is our undivided attention."

Kirkwood taught English and poetry at UW-Eau Claire for 34 years. He is a poet who works with traditional poetic form.

"Dick Kirkwood did more to teach an appreciation for traditional poetic form than any other faculty member at UW-Eau Claire," said Marty Wood, chair of the English department. "Over the years we have been blessed with many superb teachers of creative writing, but among all our excellent poets, no one worked harder to inspire students to continue using the oldest poetic forms in our language: sonnets, villanelles, sestinas and so on. Dick loves this kind of poetry, and his students learned to love them too. This award honors Dick Kirkwood's commitment to linking the poetic geniuses of our past to the poets of the future."

Kirkwood retired in 1998 and lives in Eau Claire.

If anyone would like to contribute to this fund, they can contact the UW-Eau Claire Foundation at 715-836-5630 or give online.

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