Rick Mulkey, associate professor of English at Converse, has published a new chapbook collection of original poems.
In “Bluefield Breakdown” (Finishing Line Press), Mulkey draws upon his hometown of Bluefield, Va., for inspiration for poems that reflect both the literal landscape of southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia, and those literary landscapes that require people to seek out the mysterious in order to discover the familiar in their lives.
About “Bluefield Breakdown,” North Carolina Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer wrote: “The poems in ‘Bluefield Breakdown’ mine a rich vein of voice and story, memory and silence. The presence of vanishing landscape is everywhere in this work, the Appalachian country that poet Rick Mulkey calls home. These poems make manifest the belief that a spiritual landscape exists within the physical one.”
Author Susan Ludvigson writes that “in Rick Mulkey’s deft circling of circumstance and subtle shifts in and out of light and shadow, the daily, the sacramental and the imaginative beautifully merge. Our own lives will be illuminated by these fine, perceptive poems.”
Mulkey, who also chairs the Department of English at Converse and directs the Creative Writing Program, is the author of “Before the Age of Reason” (Pecan Grove Press, 1998) and “Greatest Hits: 1994-2004” (Pudding House Press, 2004). Individual poems of his have appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Connecticut Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Poet Lore, Poetry East, and Southern Poetry Review. His work has received the Charles Angoff award from The Literary Review, a Hawthornden Fellowship for a writing residency in Edinburgh, Scotland, and several Pushcart Prize nominations.
He was presented with Converse College’s O’Herron Award for Faculty Excellence for the 2003-2004 academic year.