Robert Wrigley 2010

Robert Wrigley, Professor of English, has taught at the University of Idaho since 1999. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from the University of Montana in 1976. While at the University of Idaho he has also served as the Director of the Creative Writing Program from 2000 to 2007.

Professor Wrigley is an internationally-renowned poet, whose publications have earned considerable recognition. His book, Reign of Snakes won the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Award in Poetry, which is the world’s largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry. In addition he has received six Pushcart Prizes for his writing. He has published seven books of poetry, and his most recent, entitled Beautiful Country, will be published by Penguin books in October 2010. His poetry is also included in numerous anthologies, including the annual Best American Poetry collections twice.

Throughout his career he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. He has also served on international committees, published in illustrious magazines, including The New Yorker and appeared on programs such as NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and Jim Lehrer’s Newshour. In a letter of support for Professor Wrigley’s nomination, Edward Hirsch, President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation stated, “I consider Wrigley one of the two or three most important Western poets writing today.”

What makes him so valuable to the University of Idaho and its students, however, is his unwavering willingness to mentor and educate aspiring writers. As a result of his mentoring, Professor Wrigley has mentored 21 students who have completed book-length poetry theses. Three of these students have published versions of their theses as books and most have published poems in literary magazines across the country.

Professor Wrigley has had a profound impact on his students. According to one former student, “In many ways, it is hard for me to see where I would be in this life without having Professor Wrigley as a teacher,” wrote Lindsay Wilson, who is now a tenured professor. “I owe many professors a debt of gratitude for my education, but in many ways they all led me to Robert Wrigley. I will feel his impact ripple through my life till the end because I am committed to the act of poetry. Part of that is just who I am. Part of that I learned from Bob.”