Weinberg professor nominated for prestigious poetry award

By Jillian Sandler

A Northwestern professor is making a name for himself in the Los Angeles literary scene.

Ed Roberson, distinguished artist-in-residence, was nominated to receive a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his work, “To See the Earth Before the End of the World.”

The prizes will be awarded April 29 in Los Angeles, and Roberson said he will attend the ceremony.

The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, established in 1980, recognize outstanding achievement in several literary categories including fiction, history, biography and poetry. Roberson said he was notified of his nomination at the end of February.

Roberson is one of five nominees for the prize in poetry. He said his work contains a compilation of nature poetry.

“It’s nature poetry updated because nature has updated itself on us,” he said.

Roberson said he drew inspiration for his poems from his past experiences working in the field of science. The last section of “To See the Earth Before the End of the World” contains poems about what Roberson calls “travel in nature,” a theme he said stems from his past journeys.

Currently in his third year teaching at NU, Roberson first taught at the Center for the Writing Arts and is now teaching an advanced poetry course along with an American poetry course concentrating on city life. He also teaches a workshop in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Continuing Studies.

Roberson’s colleagues have said he has been influential on his students and the community in his time at NU.

“He has not sundered himself from the mainstream traditions of poetry in English but joined himself to them to make poetry that is like nobody else’s,” Prof. Mary Kinzie said in a 2008 statement about Roberson. “And in this way he is a courageous model for students of poetry and students of life.”

Roberson said he is flattered by the recognition he is garnering for his poetry.

“You’re always pleased to know that people read your work and that you’re communicating some kind of experience that’s pleasurable to them and that you’re informing them,” he said. “It’s just good news to hear that people like it.”

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