Professor Max Garland named Wisconsin poet laureate

Max GarlandMax Garland, UW-Eau Claire professor of English and widely published, award-winning poet, essayist and fiction writer, has been named the 2013-2014 Wisconsin poet laureate by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters.

During his two-year term, Garland will promote poetry and creativity among all ages, and act as an advocate for imaginative engagement in poetry and the other arts in Wisconsin.

Poetry has an important place in today’s society, Garland said.

“As someone who believes poetry is particularly vital in a culture where so much of the language coming at us is either sales pitch, bureaucratic jargon or political propaganda, I think poetry offers a place where we (young and old, experienced or just beginning) can still draw upon the power of honest and thoughtful words to more deeply express who we are, who we might become and what connects us as human beings.”

Garland has been a member of the UW-Eau Claire English faculty since 1996. He taught previously at UW-Madison, the University of Iowa and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and served as a poet-in-the-schools in Kentucky, Iowa and Wisconsin. He also has taught many adult and community courses in both poetry and fiction writing.

Before re-entering the university community he worked at many nonacademic jobs in his native western Kentucky, including working for 10 years as a rural mail carrier on the route where he was born, a route formerly run by his grandfather, an experience drawn upon in his first book of poems, “The Postal Confessions,” winner of the 1994 Juniper Prize for Poetry. His second book of poems, “Hunger Wide As Heaven,” was the winner of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Competition.

Garland’s other awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Tara Award for Short Fiction, a James Michener Fiction Fellowship, a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship, two Wisconsin Arts Board Literary Fellowships, a poetry fellowship from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, a Bush Artist Fellowship for 1999-2000, and the Arts and Letters Poetry Prize for 2004.

Garland’s poems, stories and essays have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, New England Review, Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Crazy Horse, Chicago Review, Gettysburg Review, Prairie Schooner, and Poet and Critic, as well as in the anthologies “I Know Some Things: Stories About Childhood by Contemporary Writers,” “High Infidelities,” “The Most Wonderful Books” and “Best American Short Stories 1995.”

At UW-Eau Claire, Garland teaches introductory and advanced creative writing; creative writing workshops in poetry and fiction; introductory courses in college writing, literature, poetry and the short story; and upper-level and graduate courses in modern and contemporary poetry.