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Poet to Pristina
Professor and poet Robin Metz travels to war-torn former Yugoslavia, to work with student writers at the University of Pristina in Kosovo.
July 26, 2004

Knox College English professor and award-winning poet Robin Metz will spend two weeks in war-torn former Yugoslavia this summer, working with student writers at the University of Pristina in Kosovo.

Metz is teaching a seminar and giving poetry readings from July 18 through July 30, as part of the International Pristina Summer University. The program is sponsored by the Academic Training Association (ATA) of the Netherlands, under a grant from the European Union.

"I was asked to help students give expression to all that they have come through, the fighting and losses they have experienced," Metz said prior to his departure. Metz has taught at Knox since 1967 and is the author of several volumes of poetry and short stories.

"The invitation from ATA really moved me," Metz said. "They're promoting international cooperation at the academic level, in a region that has seen conflict for many years. I feel very privileged to be able to share my work with the students there."

Metz's books include an award-winning poetry collection "Unbidden Angel," written following the death in 1993 of his wife, Elizabeth Jahnke Metz.

"Every love story is finally a story about grief," Metz told an audience at a reading of his work. "That's a fact of our existence that affirms the value of our love." Metz's book won the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Prize in 2000.

Metz said that he also planned to carry copies of the Knox College student literary magazine, Catch, to the students in Kosovo. Last year, Catch won a Magazine Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press and the top national award for content from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Metz was nominated for the program in Kosovo by Wendy Saul, a 1968 Knox graduate who teaches at the University of Missouri. Saul was editor of Catch during 1967-68, the first year that Metz taught at Knox.

"She will have been teaching in Kosovo for ten days prior to my arrival, and we'll team teach for a short time," Metz said. Saul is Shopmaker Professor of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She specializes in programs for under-served children and won the University of Maryland Regents' Award for Public Service for her previous work in Kosovo.

Metz is director of the Creative Writing Program at Knox and holds the Philip Sydney Post Professorship in English.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 46 states and 50 nations. Knox's "Old Main" is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Related Links

Knox Program in Creative Writing

Robin Metz Biography

Robin Metz Poetry Reading

International Pristina Summer University

United Nations Mission in Kosovo

Wendy Saul


Peter Bailley
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Robin Metz