Jack Ridl of the Hope College English faculty has won the 2002 "Say the Word" poetry competition sponsored by The Writers' Center of the Ellipse Art Center in Arlington, Va.
"Say the Word" is a literary series that includes the annual national poetry competition as well as readings, performances and workshops. The competition features a different theme each year, and this year is exploring "Writing About Joy."
Ridl's poem, "The Dry Wallers Listen to Sinatra While They Work," was selected by poet David St. John. The poem will be published in "Poet Lore," and Ridl will give a reading at The Writers' Center on Friday, May 31, in addition to receiving a $500 prize.
In 2001, Ridl won the "Letterpress Chapbook Competition" sponsored by the Center for Book Arts of New York City, for his collection "Against Elegies," selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. His other published collections include "The Same Ghost" (1985), "Between" (1988), the chapbook "After School" (1987) and "Poems from The Same Ghost and Between" (1993).
He has published more than 175 poems in journals such as "The Georgia Review," "Poetry East," "Chelsea," "Gulf Coast," "The Denver Quarterly," "Poetry," "The New York Quarterly," "Ploughshares," "Prairie Schooner" and "FIELD." He has also had work included in more than a dozen anthologies, and is co-author, with Hope colleague Peter Schakel, of the text "Approaching Poetry: Perspectives and Responses."
He has read his work and led workshops at colleges, universities, art colonies and other venues around the country. He teaches introductory, intermediate and advanced courses in poetry writing at Hope, and also founded the college's Visiting Writers Series.
Among other honors, in 1996 he was chosen Michigan's "Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The college's graduating class of 1975 presented him with the "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" Award.
Ridl was one of four Hope faculty poets to read during the college's Winter Happening program on Saturday, Feb. 2. Also this spring, he will be reading at the Portage Library on Thursday, Feb. 14; Muskegon Community College on Wednesday, March 13; Ferris State University in Big Rapids on Thursday, April 4; and Aquinas College in Grand Rapids on Sunday, April 28.