"I often think of clay hills, d'Adamo walking backwards, or riding his wagon full of seedlings, reciting proverbs and tales to those doing the planting, such as my father and grandfather. Come on boys, know the one about Cilacchiatt'-who tied chickens to his belt? End of the row and I'll tell you how he fared-jumping from a fifth floor window.
Is it too much to ask of a poem that it sustain us, or our curiosity at least, to the end of the 'row'? Is it too much to ask for an instant of faith in Cilacchiatt's power to fly? In reading, writing, and teaching it strikes me as utterly indispensable."
Years at Knox: 2002 to present
M.F.A., Creative Writing-Poetry, 1998, University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
B.A., English Literature, 1996, Roanoke College.
Poetry writing, modern and contemporary American literature, English prosody, non-fiction writing, Italian folklore, fiction writing, Italian grammar and speaking.
Philip Green Wright-Lombard College Prize for Excellence in Teaching for Tenured Faculty, Knox College, 2012.
Finalist for Marsh Hawk's Poetry Prize in 2010.
Finalist for New Issues Poetry Prize in 2008.
Finalist for Marsh Hawk's Poetry Prize in 2007.
Winner of 14 Hills' 2005 Bambi Holmes Award for "Grotto."
Nominee for a Pushcart Prize, 2003, 2004.
Finalist for Sarabande Press' Kathryn A. Morton Prize, 2002.
Finalist for the Ruth Lily Poetry Fellowship, 1997.
Fulbright Fellow, Southern Italy, 2000-2001.
James Michner-Paul Engle Fellow, Iowa City, Iowa, 1998-1999.
"Higgs Field Theory 4," four excerpts from "Ten Addresses [to the Lord]" (poems), Mary Spring 2012.
"Lupo's First Love, "Laboratory, "Palermo" (poems), New American Writing Spring 2012.
"Upon the Birth of Danica May Camacho" (essay), Pilot Light March 2012.
"Swift Entanglements" (essay), Fourth Genre Fall 2010.
"In Statu Nascendi"(poem), Third Coast Fall 2010.
"This is the Breed - Gamba, "Long Grasses with Butterflies, "This is the Breed - McCabe" (poems), Fifth Wednesday Spring 2010.
Campus & Community Involvement
Reader, Off-Knox, Kaldi's Coffee and Tea Room, once per term.
Reader, Knox College, Caxton Club Reading.
Reader, Venice, Italy, Fulbright Presentation of Research.
Reader, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Reader, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa.
Reader, The Mill Restaurant & Bar, Talk Art, Iowa City, Iowa.
What Students Say
"One of the reasons Nick succeeds at inspiring students lies in his insistence that they write what they would not write and read what they would not read. That he is an impressive cook, an accomplished chalkboard sketch artist, and has great taste in music, is not unrelated; that is to say, it is through Nick's concept of entire learning that his students come to understand why poetry matters."
-Thomas Cook, Creative Writing Major
Through his music capstone project, Nate Beck -- who has a minor in business and management -- finds that the processes of brand management and music composition have more in common than you'd probably expect.
Baby talk is serious business for senior Megan Beney, a double major in music and anthropology and sociology. Her Honors research focuses on the musical qualities of the ways that people talk to infants.
Leading up to a worldwide event -- Gun Control Theatre Action Week, May 27 through June 2 -- a play by Knox College theatre professor Neil Blackadder is selected for a new collection, "24 Gun Control Plays."