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Doctoral student wins Thayer award

Deborah Poe

A Binghamton graduate student won this year’s Thayer Fellowship, an award of $7,000 designed to serve as a bridge between study at SUNY and a professional career in the creative or performing arts.

Deborah Poe, who will receive her doctorate in creative writing in May, writes poetry and fiction. “My work is a weaving of the abstract and the concrete,” she said. “It’s a fusion of lyric and language.”

Her first book, a poetry collection titled Our Parenthetical Ontology, is due out this fall. The grant may allow her to do a real book tour, though she has a couple of other projects in mind for the money as well.

Poe has also completed a second collection of poems, titled Elements, and is wrapping up work on her dissertation, a book of short fiction to be titled Event Landmarks. She has done some research in France and China in preparation for a novel, too.

Jaimee Wriston Colbert, associate professor of creative writing, said it’s unusual for a student to move as gracefully – and successfully – between writing genres as Poe has.
“I believe Deborah is a very good teacher, and she has the potential for becoming a highly accomplished teacher, along with her very considerable gifts as a poet, and a fiction writer,” Colbert said.

Poe, who was born in Texas, grew up all over because her father was in the Air Force. She considers the Pacific Northwest her “heart’s home.”

She did her undergraduate work at Texas A&M and worked for Microsoft for several years before deciding to pursue a career as a writer and teacher. Before coming to Binghamton, Poe earned a master’s degree at Western Washington University.

“I’m really interested in bridging cultural differences,” said Poe, who felt a calling in the classroom after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Teaching is a space with potential for communication, for language to bring us closer together.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08