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Lewis Turco graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1959 and completed an MA at the University of Iowa in 1962. He writes about his career:
Lewis Turco (pseud. "Wesli Court"), Professor of English Emeritus of the State University of New York College at Oswego, was the founding director of both the Cleveland State University Poetry Center and the Program in Writing Arts at Oswego. His many publications include The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics (E. P. Dutton, 1968); Awaken, Bells Falling: Poems 1959-1968 (Univ. of Missouri Press, 1968); The New Book of Forms (Univ. Press of New England, 1986); Visions and Revisions of American Poetry (Univ. of Arkansas Press), winner of the Poetry Society of America's 1986 Melville Cane Award for literary criticism; The Shifting Web: New and Selected Poems (Arkansas, 1989), The Public Poet: Five Lectures on the Art and Craft of Poetry (Ashland Poetry Press, 1991); and Emily Dickinson: Woman of Letters, Poems and Centos from Lines in Emily Dickinson's Letters (S.U.N.Y. Press, 1993). He was the 1997 winner, with his Italian translator Joseph Alessia, of the first annual Bordighera Bilingual Poetry Prize for his A Book of Fears (Bordighera, 1998); a book of memoirs, Shaking the Family Tree, was published simultaneously.
Image: Mr. and Mrs. Turco in 1959.
Mr. Turco has collaborated with many artists over the years.
"While the Spider Slept," a ballet based upon his poem "November 22,
1963," choreographed by Brian Macdonald with music by Maurice
Karkoff, has been performed by the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Royal
Winnipeg Ballet. With the Dutch composer Walter Hekster he has
written and published a chamber opera, The Fog (Donemus, 1987), and
his Bordello: PoemPrints, with printmaker George O'Connell,
was published during a debut exhibition from April 11 to May 12,
1996, at The Rathbone Gallery of Sage Junior College in Albany, New
During the spring of 1999 he published The Life and Poems of Manoah Bodman, Bard of the Berkshires (Univ. Press of America). Later in the year his book Dialogue, A Socratic Dialogue on the Art and Craft of Writing Dialogue in Fiction (Writers' Digest Books, 1989) went into its first American paperback edition, and in the fall he published The Book of Literary Terms, the Genres of Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction, Criticism and Scholarship (New England), which, with its classic academic best-selling companion volume The Book of Forms (issued in February, 2000, by the same publisher in a Third Edition) covers all of English letters and writing arts.
In 1992 Lewis Turco received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from
the Alumni Association of the University of Connecticut; he was
inducted into the Meriden, Connecticut, Hall of Fame in 1993, and in
1999 he received the John Ciardi Award for lifetime achievement in
poetry sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation. In May
2000 Mr. Turco received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters,
from Ashland University in Ohio.
The first of Mr. Turco's papers to come to Iowa includes manuscripts and related correspondence for the later editions of The Book of Forms and research materials related to The Life and Poetry of Manoah Bodman.