Guest Speaker, Missouri Library Association 2011 Conference (7 p.m., KCI Expo Center, Kansas City)
Missouri Verses and Voices Festival (St. Joseph and Savannah, MO)
Writer-in-Residence, Bowers House at Elizabethtown College (Elizabethtown, PA)
Articles on David have appeared in the June 23, 2011 Riverfront Times and the May 2011 issue of St. Louis Magazine.
David Clewell is Missouri's Poet Laureate.
Clewell has been an English professor at Webster University since 1981, where he also directs the department's Creative Writing program.
He has published eight collections of poems—most recently Taken Somehow by Surprise, winner of the Four Lakes Poetry Prize (U. of Wisconsin Press, 2011)—and two book-length poems. His work has appeared regularly in a wide variety of magazines, including Harper's, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, Ontario Review, New Letters, and Yankee. Clewell has received the Pollak Poetry Prize for Now We're Getting Somewhere and the Lavan Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. His Blessings in Disguise was a winner in the National Poetry Series.
Clewell holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA from Washington University. Clewell, 55, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and moved to St. Louis in 1979, where he lives with his wife and teenage son.
David's term as Poet Laureate runs through January, 2012.
To contact him regarding laureate readings and engagements, email email@example.com or write to him care of the English Department, Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119.
IN MY DREAM, COLEMAN HAWKINS
walked right up to me at the corner of West 52nd and Broadway,
and he actually said Do you know how to get to
Carnegie Hall? And even in my dream I realized
he'd been dead since 1969, although I still couldn't believe it,
his not knowing Carnegie Hall was only blocks away,
so I figured he'd meant all along to be setting me up instead,
but who was I to deliver a punchline to the Hawk
himself, the Royal Bean—to my ear, the unmistakable
heavyweight champion of the tenor saxophone world?
I'll blow you up a real quick chorus or two
if you help me out just this one time, man—and, no joke,
that's exactly what the late Coleman Hawkins did.
So, finally, I had to tell him: Practice. And I guess
he had to laugh: That's really what I needed to hear.
Then he thwacked me with his immortal horn, and I woke up
to the coolest breeze through any window, ever, my head still ringing
with every strain of that jazzman's Body and Soul.
from Taken Somehow by Surprise (U. of Wisconsin Press, 2011)
Readings from There's Going to be Trouble, David Clewell's audio collection of poems: