A Literary Coup: Idaho Student Poet to be published in The New Yorker

Monday, August 30 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho third-year MFA Poetry candidate Ciara Shuttleworth has learned that her poem, “Sestina,” has been accepted for publication in The New Yorker, arguably the most significant literary and cultural publication in the world.

Founded in 1925, the magazine has published some of the most noteworthy writers in the 20th and 21st centuries, including Anne Beattie, John Cheever, Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, Vladmir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, Sharon Olds, W.S. Merwin (current U.S. Poet Laureate), Jane Kenyon and the University of Idaho’s own Robert Wrigley.

In 2007, Paul Muldoon took over as poetry editor, a position that The Chronicle of Higher Education called “one of the most powerful positions in American Poetry.” It was Muldoon who accepted Shuttleworth’s poem. The magazine boasts a subscriber base of more than 1 million readers. Its editors receive more than 600 poems each week for consideration.

Shuttleworth wrote the poem in Wrigley’s class. “I mean that literally,” Wrigley said.

The class had been studying sestinas, and Wrigley assigned one by poet Lloyd Schwartz which consisted of only six words. Half-way through class, Shuttleworth said, “I’ve written my sestina.” Shuttleworth then revised the poem and sent it to The New Yorker.

Sestinas are a challenging and technical form to work with. As a form, the sestina consists of 39 lines, six 6-line stanzas and one 3-line envoy. The same six words, in a recurring pattern, end all the first six stanzas, then all six get used in the envoy. Shuttleworth’s poem consists only of those six words, seven times each.

Shuttleworth, who holds art degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and the San Francisco Art Institute, is the daughter of poet and playwright Red Shuttleworth. The poem is slated for publication this fall.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.