Winners to be announced May 21

April 15, 2016

Marty McGovern’s affinity for poetry dates back decades.

Something about the rhythm, the combination of physicality and intellection, the specificity and the hopefully askew imagery always pulled McGovern to poetry.

But it wasn’t until a lone thought convinced him to finally publish a book.

McGovern, an associate professor of behavior and social sciences in the College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, dreamed of winning a poetry Pulitzer.

“But no one has ever won a Pulitzer without publishing a book,” McGovern said.

So McGovern, whose work has been featured in The New Republic, Denver Quarterly, Poetry and Hotel Amerika among others, finally put his poems together in a collection called “Bad Fame.” Tweaking a line from Dante's "Purgatorio," McGovern figured he had had enough of his share of bad fame to rightfully call it that.

A Pueblo native, his book heavily features poems about his home state and muses on the perplexities and certainties of the human condition.

The book features some 25 years of old and new poems, and was named a 2016 Colorado Book Award finalist in the poetry genre by Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book.

“I got the email and I didn’t want to open it,” he said. “But I finally clicked on it and it made me very happy.”

He, along with the other finalists from literary fiction and creative nonfiction, will do a reading at 5:30 p.m. on April 29 at the BookBar, located at 4280 Tennyson Street. The winners will be announced May 21 at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion.

McGovern, who created Regis’ MA in creative writing program and cofounded the Mile-High Low-Residency MFA program, is currently working on another collection of poems titled, “Has It Always Been the Heart?”

The work will comprise new many new poems, as well as some older poems, about the heart as an organ, an icon and a dream.