Poet Jack Bedell named 2007 Professional Artists in annual Governor's Art Awards
Contact: Christina Chapple
Click on thumbnail for high resolution photo
HAMMOND – Poet and editor Jack Bedell, professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University, is among the 10 winners of the 2007 Governor’s Art Awards who will be honored at the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge Oct. 11.
Bedell has been named the 2007 Professional Artist in the annual awards recognition sponsored by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development and the Division of the Arts.
Bedell and his fellow award recipients, along with 10 artist fellowship winners, are being honored for “outstanding contributions to the arts and to the quality of life in our state,” the Office of the Lieutenant Governor said.
“At the Governor’s Arts Awards, we honor those that have improved the lives of Louisianians through their contribution to the arts. We recognize that art and culture not only have intrinsic value, but in Louisiana culture means business, accounting for 144,000 jobs,” said Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu.
A native of the Houma-Thibodaux area, Bedell joined the Southeastern faculty in 1992. He directs the creative writing program and is the editor of “Louisiana Literature,” serving as the head of the Louisiana Literature Press. Bedell was the 1997 recipient of Southeastern’s prestigious President’s Award for Excellence in Artistic Activity and is the Women’s Hospital Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.
“We join the state in recognizing Jack Bedell’s contributions to cultural enrichment of Louisiana,” said John L. Crain, Southeastern provost and vice president for academic affairs. “His work reflects the rich heritage of our state and its people, and we are proud that he so readily shares his talent with our students. As a teacher, he is leading the enhancement and development of Southeastern’s growing creative writing program.”
“Jack Bedell is Louisiana through and through, and everything he does enriches Louisiana in so many ways,” said Olivia McNeely Pass of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, which awarded Bedell a Special Humanities Award in 2005.
Bedell’s poetry, which is most often about his native Louisiana and the landscape and culture of Acadiana, has been published in prestigious scholarly journals and magazines such as “Southern Review,” “Connecticut Review,” and “Aethlon.” He has published five volumes of poetry including “Greatest Hits” (2004) and “Come Rain, Come Shine” (2006).
His poetry has also been included in anthologies such as LSU Press’s “Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets,” and he recently co-edited “French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets,” a collection of poems in the theme of French identity, including his own.
Bedell’s “What Passes for Love” won the 2000 Texas Review Poetry Chapbook Prize, and “At the Bonehouse,” a collection of approximately 30 poems set in his native Acadiana, received the 1997 Texas Review Poetry Prize. He also received the Devil's Millhopper Chapbook Award for his first poetry collection, “Sleeping with the Net Maker.”
According to the late James Whitehead, under whom Bedell studied at the University of Arkansas, “Jack B. Bedell’s poetry is accessible and subtle. The figures of his imagination are mysterious and original because they are close kin to people and other creatures from real places. This is the work of a fellow who is part naturalist, part magician, all poet.”Bedell earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Northwestern State University and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He previously taught at both his alma mater and at the University of Missouri at Rolla.