Jack Ridl

November 22, 2002

Jack Ridl
Jack Ridl, a professor of English at Hope College, is the author of six collections of poetry, including: The Same Ghost, Between, After School, Poems from the Same Ghost and Between, and Against Elegies. His most recent chapbook, Outside the Center Ring, explores life with the circus, and is based on his experiences as a child behind the scenes. Along with his poetry, Ridl has collaborated with Peter Schakel, also an English professor at Hope College, to author Approaching Literature in the 21st Century: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, as well as Approaching Poetry: Perspectives and Responses. Ridl and Schakel also co-edited 250 Poems, A Portable Anthology.

Jack Ridl's collection of poetry, Against Elegies, was selected by Sharon Dolin and Billy Collins for the 2001 Chapbook Award from The Center for Book Arts in New York City. His poem "The Dry Wallers Listen to Sinatra While They Work" was chosen by David St. John for the 2002 Say-the-Word Poetry Award from The Ellipse Art Center in Arlington, Virginia. He has been widely anthologized; and his poems have been published in such literary magazines as LIT, The Georgia Review, FIELD, Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast, The Denver Quarterly, Chelsea, Free Lunch, The Journal, Passages North, and Poetry East. In 1996, The Carnegie Foundation named him Michigan Professor of the Year.

Ridl grew up in the worlds of big time sports and the circus; his father coaching basketball at Westminster College and the University of Pittsburgh. Ridl was a point guard and a shortstop. He also spent a lot of his time with his cousin who was a circus man. Jack's poems often reflect these influences, as does his teaching.

Ridl lives along Lake Michigan with his wife, Julie. He has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1971, and is also the founder of Hope College's The Visiting Writers Series, which, since 1985, has brought more than 150 writers to campus.

"Against Elegies arises from a sense of curiosity about life in both its plain and puzzling aspects. These poems feel their way forward and are attentive enough to the reader to make us feel included--happy accomplices to his search." And Naomi Shihab Nye has written, "Jack Ridl gracefully renders all realms of experience in a voice that is brave, compelling, and true; anyone who still has a glimmer of thought that poetry is two steps removed from life would do well to read his poems." -Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003

For more information on Jack Ridl, please visit this website: http://www.hope.edu/academic/english/ridl/

To view Special Collections' holdings of Ridl's work, please click here.

To hear Ridl read from his own work, please visit the Vincent Voice Library, here.

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Last Updated: March 12, 2010