Robin O. Metz
Philip Sidney Post Professor of English
"For a number of years my energies have been engaged with Twentieth Century American, British, and World Literature-including poetry, fiction, and drama-but more recently, I have been drawn to the multidisciplinary dynamics of creativity as an aspect of both cultural and natural environments.
A term that best describes this focus, perhaps, is 'bio-formalism,' with its suggestion that cultural artifacts, such as paintings, plays, and poems or choreography and compositions, are significantly shaped by, derived from, and dependent upon our individual biographies, our personal and commonly shared biology, and our place as creatures of consciousness within the larger and evolving biotic system. As a practical matter, this means that young writers in my classes are continually encouraged to explore the artistic and natural world around them as a way of discovering and articulating the intricacies of selfhood."
Years at Knox: 1967 to present
M.F.A., 1967, University of Iowa, Writer's Workshop.
B.A., 1964, Princeton University.
Modern British and American Literature, contemporary fiction, "London Arts Alive," Hemingway, Woolf, Beckett, environmental literature, urban literature, nature and culture, dying and death, multidisciplinary arts, creativity studies, fiction writing, playwriting, "The Natural Imagination" (in conjunction with Green Oaks Term).
Selected Professional Accomplishments
White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Health: Unbidden Angel listed as one of 25 recommended books.
National Public Radio (broadcast poetry reading, WSUI FM/AM).
Nomination, Guardian Book of the Year Award for Unbidden Angel, London.
Best American Stories, Roll of Honor (two stories).
National finalist, X. J. Kennedy Prize, for "First Light," African memoir.
Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Prize for Unbidden Angel, 2000.
Marshall Frankel American Fiction Prize (First).
Grand Prize, Mississippi Valley International Poetry Contest.
Pen/NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Syndicated Fiction Project (two stories).
Philip Green Wright Prizes for Distinguished Teaching, Knox College (untenured and tenured divisions).
Caterpillar Foundation/ Knox College Distinguished Achievement Award.
State of Wisconsin Conservation Awards.
Illinois Arts Council, Individual Writer's Fellowship.
"Syndrome." Fifteen Years of Literal Latte, 2008.
"The Lonely Lives of the Bereaved," "Postcard, Block Island, RI," and "famine", in Seventh Quarry (Wales), 2008.
Introduction, in Are You Famous? Touring America with Alaska‘s Fiddling Poet, by Ken Waldman. San Francisco, Catalyst Book Press, 2008.
"Father of the Bride." Poem, in Manthology: Poems of the Male Experience, Kate Featherstone and Roger Weingarten, Editors. University of Iowa Press, 2006, and On Retirement: 75 Poems, R. Chapman, J. Strasser, Editors. University of Iowa Press, 2006.
"Funeral Rites." And "First Sex." Van Gogh's Ear 5, 2006.
"Tidelands." Alehouse, 2006.
"toddling town." Midland Journal, 2006.
"Parting Ways," Lalitamba, 2005.
"Slow Dancing," Parnassus Literary Journal, 2005.
"Harrowing Love: A Poetry Harvest." Theatre Building Chicago, 2005.
"Balancing Act." Fourth River: Nature and Culture, Spring 2005.
"First Light." Rosebud Magazine, Summer, 2005.
"Code Blue," poem, in New Welsh Review, Wales, spring 2005.
Two poems in The Wolf, London, Spring 2005.
"Moving Them." Oberon Prize Poetry Annual, (Oberon Foundation, New York), Summer 2005.
Eight poems forthcoming in anthologies published by University of Iowa Press, Ohio State University Press, Houghton Mifflin, in the literary journal Fourth River: Nature and Culture, 2005.
Unbidden Angel, Cross-Cultural Communications, New York, 1999, second printing, 2002.
"Threnodies for the Dark Crossing:" performance suite for poetry and piano. With Bruce Polay, 2000-2002.
Fiction, poetry, non-fiction (selected journals): Abiko Quarterly (Japan); Medicinal Purposes; In Other Words: An American Poetry Anthology; Artlife; National Poetry Anthology (Chester H. Jones Foundation); International Poetry Review; Farmer's Market; Visions International; Writers' Forum; Communique; The Paris Review; Epoch; Storytellers; Other Voices; Calypso; Mississippi Review; December Magazine; Illinois Issues; Abroad View.
Participant, Environmental Issues discussion, University of Chicago Gleacher Center (Chicago Community Trust and the Environmental Law and Policy Center) Chicago, Illinois, 2008.
Campus & Community Involvement
Executive Producer, Associate Artistic Director, and Contributing Artist: Mother Courage and Her Children, Vitalist Theatre Company, Chicago, Illinois.
Poetry 2D and 3D Installations/Exhibitions: "Four Letter Words"; "Sea Lion Cave"; "Harrowing Love: A Poetry Harvest"; "Flight from Pristina"; "Rummy in Paradise"; "Sheiks Strike Oil and Frank Sinatra..."; "Birdstone in Ernst"; "Blind Justice"; "Mother Courage on My Mind"; "Securing the Peace: War, Literature, and the Arts".
Reader, "Daphne Poetry Series," Daphne's aribbean Express, East Village, New York City.
Reader, Fourth River Review and "Poetry Slam Planet," Austin, Texas.
Reader, "Prairie Lights Alive," Iowa City, Iowa.
Reader, Metropolis Theatre and Arts Complex, Arlington Heights, Illinois.
Reader, Nicholas Hoare Bookstore (Old City), Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Reader, Torriano Poets Series, "Poetry Monday," "Political and Personal," "The Farrago UK Slam," Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and The Cellar, London, United Kingdom.
Reader, Shakespeare A Synove, Prague, Czech Republic.
Reader, CityBlick, Berlin, Germany.
Reader, Jordaan Kwartier, Gallery Route by Nigh, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Reader, at Crackpot Coffee House, Knox College, Innkeepers, Cherry Street Brewing Co., Kaldi's, The Orpheum Theatre, Carl Sandburg's Birthplace, and Pookie's, Galesburg, Illinois.
Reader, 20 poems, The American Poetry Series, Freeport, Illinois, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, California.
Presenter of work, Caxton Club of Chicago, Quimby's Bookstore (Wicker Park), and The Green Mill Poetry Slam, Chicago, Illinois.
Reader, Asssociated Writing Program, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Reader, Seattle Cultural Events and Poetry Seires, Guild Theater, Seattle, Washington.
Reader, Coastal Waters Spoken Word (Bolinas), Point Reyes, California.
Reader, Chatham College, Baldwin-Whitehall School District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Reader, International Tour for Unbidden Angel (selected cities): London, Paris, Cracow, Prague, Venice, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Nairobi, Havana, Stresa, Palermo, Trapani.
Reader, National Tour for Unbidden Angel (selected cities): New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Iowa City, Newport, Storrs, LaCrosse, Ames, New Orleans.
Involved with seminars for student writers, International Pristina Summer University Program sponsored by the Academic Training Association (ATA) of the Netherlands; Pristina, Kosovo.
Co-Founder and Co-Producer, Vitalist Theatre, Chicago, Illinois.
Musical collaborator with: Mitar Covic; Lloyd King; Darin Wilson; Bruce Polay; Cin Salach and Ten Tongues; Nova Singers.
Visual collaborator with: Susan MacMillen; Raylene Kaufmann; H.A. Sigg.
Theatrical collaborator with: Kandinski Ensemble (Chicago).
Nomination Committee, Nobel Prize in Literature (in conjunction with The Caxton Club of Chicago and the Swedish Academy).
Executive Producer and Contributing Poet, Vitalist Theatre's acclaimed production of Anna Karenina (directed by Elizabeth Carlin-Metz, Theatre and starring Knox alumna Kelly Lynn Hogan).
What Students Say
"Robin Metz is in awe of what he teaches, and it shows in his intellectual vigor. He wants his students to work hard, but he has a great method of encouragement: he leads by example. Despite all his achievements, he's completely approachable. He combines in one person the ecstatic fascination of a 10-year-old discovering a favorite book with the deep maturity of a grandfather who can fully understand a story about loss after having experienced grief himself. He wants his students to grow, and if they're willing, they do."
-Patrick Winslow, Computer Science and Creative Writing major