NEWS: Chuck Hanzlicek to receive honors

Poet and former Fresno State professor Chuck Hanzlicek will be honored this week by the Fresno Arts Council with a special-category Horizon Award, an honor that celebrates “the wealth of artists and arts supporters who enhance our environment, strengthen our community, and communicate through the arts.”

Hanzlicek was the longtime director of the Fresno creative writing program, retiring from Fresno State in 2001 after teaching here for 35 years. Since 1994, Hanzlicek has put together the yearly Fresno Poets’ Association reading series, which runs from October through April at the Fresno Art Museum. His tireless work with the FPA series has made it one of the premier literary gatherings in the country.

Next year’s impressive FPA lineup features Philip Levine, B.H. Fairchild, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Bob Hicok, and Beverly Lowry, along with the annual reading from Fresno MFA faculty.

The Horizon Awards banquet is scheduled for Thursday. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the Fresno Arts Council.

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2 comments

  1. Yes, Chuck–thank gawd.There is no “Fresno School of Poetry.” This term came from theintroduction to “How Much Earth,” an anthology of Fresno poetspublished in 2000. Mark Jarman, who wrote the introduction, madereference to something like a Fresno School of Poetry existing from thecommunity of Fresno poets. The editors, Buckley, Oliveira and Boston,in some advance material when the book was published, reiterate thevague reference of Jarman.There is no “school” in the sense of the “New York School of Poetry,”otherwise Fresno poets would be writing alike. And thank gawd, none ofthe over 70 or so poets in the world with links to Fresno, writealike. Even though, I think we’d all like to write like Larry Levis orPhil Levine.There is a school FOR Fresno poetry, and it has been Fresno State sincethe arrival of Philip Levine in 1958, who put Fresno on the map forpoetry. But there is also the Fresno City College poetry-writingprogram, of which DeWayne Rail was a part of, and is Lee Herrick andothers now teach.The Fresno State effort was an undergraduate poetry-writing programLevine started that grew with the arrival of Peter Everwine and ChuckHanzlicek. In 1992, the poetry-writing program became an “MFA”graduate program. Connie was here by then, and Chuck was the directorafter the MFA program started. Chuck retired in 2001, and Connie andLiza took over. Now, in addition to Connie, we have Tim Skeen joiningthe ranks and bringing his individual poetry-writing-style to thecommunity of Fresno poets, and for the benefits of the students.I hope this provides some enlightenment about the notion of a FresnoSchool of Poetry, it truly is the community of Fresno poets.Stephen Barile

    Like

  2. Yes, Chuck–thank gawd.There is no “Fresno School of Poetry.” This term came from theintroduction to “How Much Earth,” an anthology of Fresno poetspublished in 2000. Mark Jarman, who wrote the introduction, madereference to something like a Fresno School of Poetry existing from thecommunity of Fresno poets. The editors, Buckley, Oliveira and Boston,in some advance material when the book was published, reiterate thevague reference of Jarman.There is no “school” in the sense of the “New York School of Poetry,”otherwise Fresno poets would be writing alike. And thank gawd, none ofthe over 70 or so poets in the world with links to Fresno, writealike. Even though, I think we’d all like to write like Larry Levis orPhil Levine.There is a school FOR Fresno poetry, and it has been Fresno State sincethe arrival of Philip Levine in 1958, who put Fresno on the map forpoetry. But there is also the Fresno City College poetry-writingprogram, of which DeWayne Rail was a part of, and is Lee Herrick andothers now teach.The Fresno State effort was an undergraduate poetry-writing programLevine started that grew with the arrival of Peter Everwine and ChuckHanzlicek. In 1992, the poetry-writing program became an “MFA”graduate program. Connie was here by then, and Chuck was the directorafter the MFA program started. Chuck retired in 2001, and Connie andLiza took over. Now, in addition to Connie, we have Tim Skeen joiningthe ranks and bringing his individual poetry-writing-style to thecommunity of Fresno poets, and for the benefits of the students.I hope this provides some enlightenment about the notion of a FresnoSchool of Poetry, it truly is the community of Fresno poets.Stephen Barile

    Like

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