Taking the poetry world by storm
English professor helps open doors for young writers
By Julie Smith Turner, email@example.com
When Samuel Amadon’s self-described “mediocre high school football career” fizzled, he caught a new passion: writing.
“My friends were writing and talking about writing, and when I began to write, they’d hand me books that were handed to them by someone else when they started to write,” says Amadon, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. “It all seemed serious and secret, and yet accessible: Once you could find the books, you just had to read.”
During college, his love of writing intensified into a deep passion for poetry.
I want to hand them things to read that will open up doors for them, and I also want to take them seriously as poets, and help them take themselves seriously as well.
Samuel Amadon, English literature
“After school, I went to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and different teachers and poets who were further along than me helped me out, showed me about MFA Programs and led me to more books.”
Amadon, it would turn out, was a prolific investment.
For being such a young poet, Amadon’s literary accomplishments include a staggering catalog of material that spans four full-length books, four chapbooks and more than 100 poems published in journals, anthologies and prestigious literary magazines including The New Yorker. His first two books won national awards and will soon be joined by two books currently in production. The third book, Listener, is slated for publication this year, and the fourth book, Often, Common, Some, And Free, will appear in 2021. He is currently at work on a book of sonnets.
Beyond his writing, Amadon is a leader on the national literary scene. While at the University of South Carolina, he founded Oversound, an annual poetry journal he edits with his colleague and partner Liz Countryman. The journal welcomes submissions from both new and established poets. In describing the journal, one reviewer said it has “very rapidly become a literary magazine beloved by writers, for the elegance of its print issues, and especially for the eclecticism one finds within.”
Oversound has more than 200 subscribers, including Harvard Library.
Just as his mentors once did for him, the Department of English Language and Literature’s 2016 Teacher of the Year hopes his students will be as inspired by poetry as he is. “I want to hand them things to read that will open up doors for them, and I also want to take them seriously as poets, and help them take themselves seriously as well,” he says.
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