Plenty of professors on campus pursue personal or professional interests alongside their teaching jobs, but not many can claim that it led them to a $10,000 prize. Wayne Miller, Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing, is one of the few who can.
The award is the UNT Rilke Prize, an annual prize awarded to a book that shows exceptional artistry and vision. “Obviously, I’m thrilled,” Miller said. “The previous winners are all poets whom I admire deeply, so it’s deeply gratifying to have Post- be recognized in such tremendous company.”
Poetry collections are often under-appreciated, so he hopes that the award will help enlarge the book’s audience, but for Miller, Post- is more than just a poetry collection. The book connects more private themes, like loss—his father, who passed away in 2008—and parenthood—Miller has two daughters, aged 5 and 2—with more wide-ranged ones like shootings, riots, and recessions, to show how all of these elements connect with one another.
Outside of teaching and poetry, Miller is the Editor in Chief for the CU Denver Copper Nickel literary journal. “As is the case for most professors, I find a lot competes for my time, but I also feel very lucky to be at CU Denver,” Miller said. “There aren’t a ton of universities that are notably or consistently enthusiastic about literary journals, and the support for Copper Nickel at all levels has been outstanding.”
Even with an additional $10,000 in his wallet, not much has changed for Miller. He has upcoming book readings planned, and he is continuing to write and further his skills as a poet.