March 07, 2007

Two SIUC graduates honored for poetry

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Two recent graduates of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's master of fine arts program in creative writing are receiving honors for their poetry.

Michael Meyerhofer, a 2006 graduate and lecturer in SIUC's English department, is the 2007 winner of the James Wright Poetry Award for his poem "Ode to Dogs." The national literary journal Mid-American Review, based at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, hands out the $1,000 prize.

"It's been a pleasure to watch Michael grow as a student and now as a lecturer here at

SIUC," said Allison E. Joseph, head of SIUC's master's program in creative writing. "This is one of many awards that he's won while being here, and there will be many more in the future."

Meyerhofer's work has also appeared in the North American Review and Southern Poetry Review, among others. A native of Osage, Iowa, Meyerhofer earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Iowa.

Chad Parmenter, a 2005 SIUC graduate, will have his poem, "A Tech's Ode to the Genome Computer," reprinted in the prestigious anthology "Best American Poetry 2007." The annual anthology reprints the best selections from each year's national literary review. "A Tech's Ode" originally appeared in the special issue of The Kenyon Review devoted to artistic and literary representations of the human genome project.

Parmenter's initial reaction to the honor was "the kind of shock I think I'd feel if Scarlett Johansson called me and said, 'So, do you want to go to a movie?'" he said. "I literally had trouble breathing for just a second, and had to nudge my brain to send e-mails to my parents and friends. It's extremely humbling to be included in such a publication, and the poem, I'm sure, will be humbled in juxtaposition with the work of so many masters. Hopefully they'll get it to the press before they realize they've made a mistake in including mine."

Parmenter's work has also appeared in The Harvard Review, Pleiades, Smartish Pace and The Literary Review.

While at SIUC, Parmenter was a Jacob K. Javitz fellow. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in creative writing at University of Missouri, Columbia. The poet earned a bachelor of arts from Central Missouri State University.