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Award-Winning Poet and McMicken Alumna Returns for Reading

McMicken College of Arts and Sciences alumna and award-winning poet Cate Marvin captures a $50,000 Whiting Award.


Date: 10/31/2007
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Award winner Cate Marvin's work in her latest book of poems, titled "Fragment of the Head of a Queen," has been referred to as suggesting "a postmodern Plath."

Now, add "winner of one of the 2007 Whiting Writers' Awards for emerging authors" to the list of accolades for Marvin, who earned her PhD from the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

Cate Marvin
Poet and UC alumna Cate Marvin


The Whiting awards, presented this week in New York and mentioned in Oct. 25's New York Times, were established in 1985 to help writers early in their careers. The honor came just two days before a scheduled Oct. 26 reading at Langsam Library by Marvin, a Staten Island resident who has published two volumes of her own work. She teaches poetry writing in Lesley University's Low-Residency MFA Program and is an associate professor in creative writing at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. The UC reading is sponsored by the George Elliston Poetry Fund and the Department of English.

Marvin, who presented an Oct. 26 reading at Langsam Library, captured both the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry and the 2002 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for her first collection, "The World’s Tallest Disaster." Her second book, co-edited with poet Michael Dumanis, is the anthology "Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century."

"This Whiting, big as it is, is just another feather in Cate's cap," said Joanie Mackowski, assistant professor of English. "She's such a tremendous, innovative writer."

Publisher's Weekly agrees, saying of "Fragment of the Head of a Queen": "From the blood-soaked cover image of a Snow White-like figure to the final poem (You Cut Open), there is both violence and humor in the 42 lyrics of Marvin's second book … Readers who can believe all love/should be loud enough to scare off the neighbors will swoon for this work."

Marvin joins good company, and another McMicken College of Arts and Sciences veteran, in taking a Whiting prize: Past winners include Pulitzer Prize winners Michael Cunningham and Jeffrey Eugenides and the late Austin Wright, who earned one of the first Whiting awards in 1985, for fiction/nonfiction. Wright taught in the Department of English at McMicken for 23 years before his 1983 retirement.



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