Issue4_Features_Berwyn

English professor receives poetry award

Sep 26 • Features • 271

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Berwyn Moore, an English professor of 32 years at Gannon University, recently received the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry for her third book, “Sweet Herbaceous Miracle.”
This prestigious award came as a very sweet surprise to Moore. The book is a collection of her poems that she has put years of work into.
She began writing poetry in high school with inspirations or callings to this art form dating back as early as grade school in science class. With her interest in poetry sparking at a fairly young age, it is no wonder that Moore has made her way up to a level of writing that deserves such high recognition.
This award truly affirmed Moore in her ability to write poetry. Although her work has been published in national journals before and given high remarks, she explained that this experience was particularly exceptional.
The prize is sponsored by the University of Missouri at Kansas City and includes a monetary award as well as publication by UMKC’s BkMk Press.
English department chair Laura Rutland, Ph. D., characterized the Ciardi prize as “one of the most prestigious poetry awards in the country.”
“This is a huge honor and achievement, and we are so excited for Berwyn,” Rutland said.
Moore sees poetry as an important form of expression, one that can be used by anyone, regardless of whether they are an English professor or a nursing student.
She said she believes that this unique quality makes poetry stand out as a platform to bring the world together cohesively to express what cannot be conveyed through plain prose.
She spoke of a time in grade school that stands out to her as an experience that more than likely influenced her inclination toward poetry. After catching various insects and putting them into jars to pin later as many science classes do, one butterfly began to change her world view.
When her class began to classify all of the pinned insects, she was identifying a butterfly as she began to feel something pulsing in her hand. When she looked down, the butterfly had woken up and was still alive.
She explained that the creature then flew away with the pin still stuck right through it. Mesmerized by what had just happened, she did not have the slightest clue what to do, other than perhaps cry.
Moore made the connection that it is in moments like these, seeing precious butterflies that have been stabbed and still have the strength to fly away, poetry can thrive.
She asked, “What do you do with that?” And many people would not know what to do with these moments.
Moments of pain and suffering, moments of overwhelming joy, moments of indescribable feeling, what does one do with those experiences?
Poetry is a platform for expressing the way in which every person experiences suffering and joy. Moore has taken this incredible art and edged more and more toward mastering its ins and outs. She has used it to express what may not be expressible otherwise and used her gifts to write award-winning poetry.

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