Poet, Professor Rudman Is Given National Book Critics Circle Award

Photograph: Mark Rudman. Photo Credit: Joe Pineiro.

Mark Rudman, adjunct assistant professor of writing in Columbia's School of the Arts, has won the National Book Critics Circle award for poetry for his collection Rider (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England).

"I was honored and moved that people were moved by my poetry," said Rudman, when he learned of the award.

Rudman, who holds a B.A. from the New School and an M.F.A. from Columbia, describes Rider as "a diasporian work, tracking the life--on the double planes of the literal and figurative, physical and spiritual--of an itinerant rabbi (my stepfather)." The poem, which moves from tenements to canyons, calls for many verse forms to convey the violent shifts and painful contradictions of the rabbi's wandering life.

"For me, it's about the formal possibilities of language and the poetic line," said Rudman. "Rider explores the borderline between poetry and prose."

"It is wonderful to see one of our own held aloft in this marvelous and much deserved way," said Lucie Brock-Broido, associate professor of poetry in the School of the Arts, on behalf of the poetry faculty of the Writing Division, which includes Alfred Corn, poet and adjunct professor, and Alice Quinn, professor and poetry editor of The New Yorker.

Rudman credits his years in the Columbia M.F.A writing program for much of his accomplishment. "My experience in the School of the Arts in 1972 and 1973 was a turning point for me. I remember particularly the encouragement I received from teachers Stanley Kunitz and Mark Strand."

Rudman has also authored The Nowhere Step and By Contraries, both poetry, and prose books Robert Lowell: An Introduction to the Poetry; Diverse Voices: Essays on Poets and Poetry, and Realm of Unknowing.

His work has appeared in the anthologies Best American Essays and Best American Poetry and in many publications, including The Atlantic, Harper's, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Paris Review and Raritan.

He has translated My Sister-Life and The Highest Sickness, poems by Boris Pasternak, and Square of Angels: The Selected Poems of Bohdan Antonych; Memories of Love, poems by Bohdan Boychuk.

Rudman is the recipient of fellowships from the N.E.A., The PEN/Columbia Translation Center and the New York State Council for the Arts. He is editor of Pequod.

Columbia University Record -- March 10, 1995 -- Vol. 20, No. 20