Retired Coe Professor Ann Struthers receives poetry accolades

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
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2017-07-14 14:24:16 - General

Ann Struthers
Ann Struthers

Ann Struthers, an accomplished poet who served as a Coe English professor as well as the college's national fellowship advisor before her retirement, recently had two of her chapbooks selected for publication. Most of the poems in both chapbooks have been previously printed in literary magazines, a distinctive achievement.

Struthers' winning chapbook, "The Kindness of Crocodiles," was recently named the first-place winner of the Wild Leek Press Inaugural Poetry Chapbook Competition and will be published by the Wild Leek Press. In addition, another chapbook written by Struthers - "Aleppo Burning" - was accepted by The Head & The Hand Press.

"The Kindness of Crocodiles"

Struthers submitted "The Kindness of Crocodiles" earlier this spring. It is a collection of 27 different poems, all about the animals of Sri Lanka. As the winner of the competition, Struthers will be awarded publication and 12 author copies, which will be beautifully designed with hand-crafted covers.

"I've always been interested in animals and in the ecology that they represent, because so much is being destroyed so fast," said Struthers. "I was also influenced and wrote a dissertation on Marianne Moore, who wrote a great deal about animals."

Wild Leek Press (WLP) is an independent literary publisher based in Sugar Grove, Virginia, currently printing on the campus of Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia. The chapbook contest included winners for both letterpress printing methods and modern printing methods.

"Aleppo Burning"

"Aleppo Burning" includes poems about the current terrible situation in Syria where Struthers served for two years as a Fulbright Fellow, teaching at the University of Aleppo from 1996-98.

"We lived out among the people and got to know many of the locals, as well as developing many friends among the faculty and students," said Struthers. "I fear that many of my students are no longer among the living. I know that some have been fortunate to emigrate. Since all governments and military organizations in the Middle East seem to want to kill the Kurds, I fear that most of my Kurdish students are dead."

Struthers laments the photos that have come out of Aleppo since the Syrian conflict began, reflecting the awful destruction of the buildings and infrastructure, with streets filled with rubble.

"There is a terrible sadness about all of this. When my husband, Mel, and I lived in Syria, it was a magical place," said Struthers. "Although it was difficult to live under a dictator, the city was so beautiful, the area and country so historic and fascinating, the people so friendly and so helpful. It is one of the highlights of my life."

Based in Philadelphia, The Head & The Hand Press is a nonprofit, independent, craft publishing company and writers' workshop. The organization's main goal is to produce writing that shows a connection from the head to the hand by publishing stories that have the power to change and entertain.

A biographical sketch of Ann Struthers

An accomplished poet, Struthers is the author of three chapbooks and two collections of poetry. She has published numerous book reviews, articles in literature reference books, academic essays and short fiction. Her poems have appeared in The North American Review, Poetry International, The Iowa Review, The Hudson Review and others. Many of these poems have featured animals.

While at Coe, Struthers taught poetry classes and was also the faculty advisor for the Poetry Club. She also taught Middle Eastern literature. Struthers was also the faculty advisor for students who have applied for national fellowships in the Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes and Marshall programs. She had the opportunity to work with all seven of the 2017-18 Coe Fulbright recipients.

"They'll do such wonderful work abroad; it's fantastic what they do for the United States when they go abroad," said Struthers. "It enriches their lives and gives them many new opportunities."

In active retirement, Struthers stays busy with writing, reading and research. Currently, she is working on a series of translation of a ninth-century Arabic poet who also wrote about animals.

Struthers earned her bachelor's degree from Morningside College in Sioux City and her master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. Struthers grew up on an Iowa farm, but has traveled extensively and won various fellowships throughout her career. Struthers treasures her Fulbright experiences that inspired her writing, especially her fellowship at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka for a year, and another fellowship for two years at the University of Aleppo in Syria.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.