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Ashtabula Campus professor finalist in national poetry contest

Posted Nov. 9, 2010

Published in the Ashtabula Star Beacon - November 1, 2010


KSUA professor a finalist in national poetry contest



ASHTABULA — A Kent State University-Ashtabula associate English professor recently was named a finalist in a prestigious national poetry contest.

Roger Craik's full-length book manuscript "Crumpled Mosaic" was a finalist in the 2010 Richard Snyder Publication Prize. The manuscript was one of 20 chosen from a field of 374.

"My manuscript is 70 pages of a collection of poems that is a great mixture of styles and inspirations," Craik said. "Some are about Amsterdam and England, and two are about Syd Barrett, who was the founding member of Pink Floyd."

"My poems about Syd Barrett are my favorites, I found him to be a fascinating character. He became a recluse for about 40 years and died in 2008," Craik said.

The Snyder Prize honors the memory of Richard Snyder (1925-86), poet, fiction writer, playwright and longtime professor of English at Ashland University, according to a press release.

Craik has taught at KSUA for the past 19 years and has been writing poetry since 1993.

The contest accepted poetry manuscripts of original 50- to 80-page collections of poems, with no more than one poem per page, single-sided. The deadline for entering the contest was April 30, and the winner has been announced. In selecting manuscripts for this series, Ashland Poetry Press editors kept in mind Snyder's tenacious dedication to craftsmanship and thematic integrity, according to a Web site (

"The editor of Ashland Poetry Press, Sarah Wells, wrote to me: 'Congratulations. To be one of 20 finalists out of 374 is a big deal,'" Craik said.

"It is just lovely doing this writing," he said. "I would like to thank my colleague, John Stoker, for his unfailing encouragement of my poetry."

Craik finds the early-morning hours to be his best time to write.

"I do it every day. Poetry has become one of my passions and has led to a very interesting life with a lot of travel," he said.

In fact, Craik traveled to Bulgaria to teach at Sofia University on a Fulbright Scholarship several times over the years.

Craik has published five books of poetry, including "I Simply Stared" (2002), "Rhinoceros in Clumber Park" (2003), "The Darkening Green" (2004) and "Those Years," (2007), which was translated into Bulgarian in 2009, and "Of England Still," (2009), which can be purchased on

Next on the horizon for Craik is a small book of poems, "Four Views of Amsterdam," which will be published in England this spring.

"This year my poem, 'Fluchtlingskinder: Two Jewish Girls at a Porthole of the SS St. Louis,' is listed in America's top 100 unrhymed poems," Craik said. "Last year, the poem won second prize in the Poetica Journal Competition for Poems With a Jewish Theme."

In 2012, Craik will be traveling to Bulgaria to work at a poetry seminar run by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation. Kostova is an American novelist most known for her debut novel, "The Historian."


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