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Wichita State professor Albert Goldbarth was the focus of an Oct. 19 column in the Chicago Tribune about his award-winning poetry.

The Goldbarth standard

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is Albert Goldbarth's moment, and it couldn't happen to a better writer or nicer guy.

Earlier this month, the 60-year-old Chicago native won the Mark Twain Poetry Award from the Poetry Foundation (poetryfoundation.org), the Chicago-based organization that publishes Poetry magazine.

His essay, "Everybody's Nickname," is included in the just-published "Best American Essays 2008" (Houghton Mifflin).

And in last week's issue of The New Yorker, you'll find a nifty Goldbarth poem: "The Way," an elegant and whimsical look at how we cut the universe down to size by the words we choose to describe it.

"Our language," Goldbarth writes, "scissors the enormity to scales we can tolerate."

The wondrous thing about Goldbarth, a professor at Wichita State University and author of "The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems 1972-2007" (2007), is that he's no snob.

He loves comic books as much as he loves sonnets; he's a funny fusion of the high and low, the sophisticated and the earthy.

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