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February 14, 2018

Michael Copperman Named Finalist for Oregon Book Award

2/2018: Michael Copperman (MFA Fiction ’06) was recently named one of five finalists for the 2018 Oregon Book Awards/Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction. His book, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta (University Press of Mississippi), was selected by out-of-state judges Steven Church, Alison Hawthorne Deming, and Lia Purpura. Congratulations, Mike! The winners in all OBA categories will be announced at an awards ceremony in Portland on April 30.

See more about the Oregon Book Awards here:

December 12, 2017

A yearlong sequence of creative writing classes.

Formerly called the Kidd Tutorial Program, The Walter and Nancy Kidd Creative Writing Workshops is a unique studio experience in which students pursue their passion for creative writing. Students enter one of two tracks: fiction or poetry. They then workshop their creative work in small classes with the support of peers and a graduate mentor. They also learn to read like writers, analyzing literature as part of a rigorous critical discourse. Students attend lectures by visiting writers and Creative Writing faculty, with the opportunity to engage with critically acclaimed working writers. The Kidd Workshops provide a supportive community for writers to grow and thrive.

Admission to the Kidd Workshops is by application only. Generously funded by the Walter and Nancy Kidd endowment, the Kidd Workshops award scholarships each year of up to $3,000* each to all admitted students who receive financial assistance from the University of Oregon.

There are no prerequisites. All eligible students who are interested in Creative Writing at the University of Oregon, regardless of major or academic background, are encouraged to apply.

*Financial awards are subject to available funding. Eligibility is determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship pursuant to University guidelines, not those of the Creative Writing Program. Post-bac undergraduates are not eligible for program scholarships.

October 30, 2017

Ralph Salisbury


Ralph Salisbury
January 24, 1926 – October 9, 2017

Ralph James Salisbury, poet, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at the University of Oregon, died peacefully on October 9, 2017. He was 91.

He was born January 24, 1926, in Fayette County, Iowa, where he grew up hunting and trapping for meat and pelts, and working on his family’s farm, which had no electricity or running water. After surviving a lightning strike at age 15, he was left with “a sense of awe and an intense love of life.”

Ralph graduated from Aurora (Iowa) High School at age 16, and the following year, enlisted in the Air Force, with dreams of rescuing his older brother, who had been captured by Germans in North Africa and was being held as a POW in Italy. He never engaged in active duty, for which he was grateful; he said that the only killing he did during his military service, was the rabid skunk he shot, while on guard duty one night, at an airbase near McCook, Nebraska.

Through World War II Air Force service, Ralph earned six years of university education, including an MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where he studied under the poet Robert Lowell. During the Korean War, he became a conscientious objector, pacifist, and activist in the early civil rights movement.

Ralph published 11 collections of poetry, including Rainbows of Stone (2000) and Like the Sun in Storm (2012), both finalists for the Oregon Book Award, and Light from a Bullet Hole (2009), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He also published three short-story collections and a memoir, So Far, So Good (2013), which received the RiverTeeth Book Award for Literary Nonfiction.

His work reflects his Native American (Cherokee, Shawnee) heritage and family history, his pacifism, and what he described as a “devotion to harmony with nature.” His poem “In the Children’s Museum in Nashville” was published in the New Yorker in 1960, and has attracted attention as a precursor to the contemporary Native American literary movement.

Dedicated, as he said, to the Tribe of the World, Ralph wrote: “Though I have lived and worked among the intelligentsia of many nations, my writing comes from being a questing, mixed-race, working-class individual in a violent world.  My work is offered to the spirit of human goodness, which unites all people in the eternal struggle against evil, a struggle to prevail against global extinction.”

For six years the editor-in-chief of Northwest Review, he also edited A Nation Within, an anthology of contemporary Native American writing, and co-translated two books by Sámi (Lapp) poet Nils-Aslak Valkeappää: Trekways of the Wind and The Sun, My Father.

He was Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Oregon, where he began teaching in 1960, and directed the MFA in Creative Writing program, which he helped to develop. Besides the University of Oregon, Ralph also taught at Drake University, Texas A & M University, the University of Frankfurt, and the University of Freiburg (Germany).

A disciplined and prolific writer, Ralph’s literary legacy, passion for justice, truth and beauty, and his far-reaching influence as beloved teacher and friend, is carried on in the lives of his students, many of whom have, in turn, gone on to distinguished literary careers.

A winner of the Northwest Poetry Award, he was also a Rockefeller Foundation Resident at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy. A three-time Fulbright Professor in Germany and a Fulbright translation grant recipient in Norway, he also received an AMPARTS lectureship in India. In 2015, he was honored with the C.E.S Wood Retrospective Award, one of the Oregon Book Awards, celebrating a distinguished career in Oregon Letters.

Over the years, he presented his work in hundreds of poetry readings, on stage, on the radio, and on TV, throughout North America, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and India.

Ralph married Joyce Hulbert in 1948, and they had two sons, Jeffrey and Brian. He and Joyce later divorced. In the spring of 1969, he married poet and writer Ingrid Wendt at Sahalie Falls, along the McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. They had one daughter, Martina. Ralph and Ingrid recently celebrated 48 years of shared artistic careers, visions, dreams, and adventures.

He is survived by his wife Ingrid of Eugene; sons Jeff and Brian of Eugene; daughter Martina and son-in-law Franco of Brooklyn, NY; four grandchildren: Connor, Travis, Gemma and Gavino; and several generations of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Olive McAllister and Charles Salisbury, his beloved Aunt Jennie, and five siblings, Robert, Ray, Ruth, Rex, and Leland.

Private burial services will be held at the Eugene Masonic Cemetery. A memorial celebration will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, January 14, 2018, at Gerlinger Alumni Lounge on the University of Oregon Campus.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in memory of Ralph’s lifelong devotion to peace and justice, to human rights, and to furthering public awareness of Native American literature, may be sent to Returning the Gift: A Native and Indigenous Literary Festival (, the American Civil Liberties Union (, or Mercy Corps (

Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Oct. 29, 2017

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