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I Am Knox -- Josh Tvrdy '17


Megan Scott

Editor, Knox Magazine

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East entry to Ford Center for the Fine Arts.
Josh Tvrdy '17

I am Knox—Josh Tvrdy '17

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Major/Minor: Creative Writing major, religious studies minor
Campus Clubs & Organizations: Kemper Scholar, kitchen aide in the Hard Knox Cafe, Catch fiction editor, resident assistant, cross country, track and field.
Class Year:

Three Facts About Josh

  1. He was selected as the 2016-17 Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, which recognizes outstanding college seniors in Illinois.
  2. In 2016, his indoor track and field team set a new Knox record of 10:43.13 in the distance medley relay.
  3. He hopes to work with a nonprofit for a few years before returning to school for an MFA in creative writing. Ultimately, he hopes to teach.

Was it always your intention to study creative writing and religion?

The creative writing program (especially Catch) drew me to Knox, so I began my studies fairly certain I was destined to be a creative writing major. Still, like any conscientious liberal arts student, I tried to leave room for undiscovered passions. My religious studies minor came as more of a surprise. I went to a private Christian high school, so I took my first religious studies course (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) out of obligation. Obligation quickly faded away. I find religion-the needs it meets, the beauty it makes accessible-to be a fascinating area of study. I'm particularly drawn to the intersection of religion and popular culture, since that intersection helps us describe our contemporary (and very American) religious realities.

What was one of your most transformative Knox experiences?

In my first term, I took a beginning poetry-writing class with Gina Franco, and she challenged me to keep a commonplace book. More than a diary, the commonplace book was intended as a repository for each day's little bursts of inspiration: scraps of language, the beginnings of ideas, and, most importantly for me, the world's images—a pattern of light on the wall, a leaf tumbling through the air, the body of a diver. I learned to see honestly, without illusion, for maybe the first time. This new kind of seeing ultimately led me inward, to the self, and I began the long (still ongoing) process of coming to terms with my desire, with who I really am. Without poetry, or Gina, or that little commonplace book, I think I'd still be a closeted gay man, guilt-ridden and afraid, unable to look at myself honestly.

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Printed on Monday, October 22, 2018