OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University English major Kory Fluckiger will have a collection of his poems published as a result of being selected as the best in the nation by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS).
Fluckiger’s collection of original poems was awarded the Florence Kahn Memorial Publication Award-University Level. As part of the honor, Fluckiger will receive $500, have 100 copies of his poetry chapbook published, and receive $300 to help cover travel expenses to attend the NFSPS national convention in Oklahoma City, June 7-10. WSU’s Office of Undergraduate Research also provided financial assistance for Fluckiger’s trip to the convention, where he read from his work.
When Fluckiger first learned of the honor, he was excited but hesitant to believe the news. “I know some of my friends entered poems that are better than mine,” he said.
The judges felt otherwise about his collection of poems, which featured descriptions of particular scenes or memories, along with some that Fluckiger characterizes as observations. The title poem, “On the way to fish for shiner,” recounts a sad childhood memory from his days living in Florida, when he and his brother came across a wild turtle that had been severely injured by an automobile, and the boys realized the reptile had to be put out of its misery.
Despite the recognition for his poetry, Fluckiger considers himself a visual artist first and foremost. He has had a watercolor instruction book published internationally, and one of his paintings was featured on the cover of American Artist Watercolor Magazine.
Fluckiger finds similarities between his art and his poetry.
“Visual arts and poetry are often referred to as the ‘sister arts,’” Fluckiger said. “I often find that I compose a poem in much the same way as I compose a painting. I approach the poem on a visual level; I have to see all of the parts working together to create a successful whole.”
Unlike his watercolor work, where the entire painting has to be planned out before he begins, Fluckiger said poetry allows him to explore a subject and watch it grow and change as it develops.
Fluckiger will complete his studies at WSU this summer. After graduation, he and his wife plan to serve as volunteers in the U.S. Peace Corps. Fluckiger believes the experience will enhance his artistry. Ultimately, he plans to be a stay-at-home dad writing and illustrating children’s books.
Fluckiger is the second WSU student in as many years to receive NFSPS recognition. In 2006, WSU English major Hannah New also earned the Kahn Award for her collection of poetry, “Fighting Nature.”
WSU English instructor Brad Roghaar attributes the string of success to the revamped creative writing emphasis in WSU’s Department of English, and a strong cohort of young, talented writers who share their work with one another in a collaborative, supportive environment. Fluckiger concurs, suggesting his work has been strengthened by receiving feedback from his peers.
“Students are able to collaborate and form tight groups with other students with similar interests, and the feedback that results is invaluable,” Fluckiger said.
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