“Poetry is like a river,” said Adam Tavel, professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College and a poet outside the classroom. “It reshapes your landscape; you can get in it and splash around; it has a flow.”
Now Tavel has a raft on which to navigate that river: a $10,000 grant from the Maryland State Arts Council to support his poetry writing. The grant came as part of the state’s Independent Artist Regional Award; the goal of the program is to encourage artistic growth and sustained practice. Tavel is one of only 10 in the state to receive the award, and the only on the Lower Eastern Shore.
“As a working writer, the grant will help supplement my income so I can spend more time writing,” Tavel said. “But it means more than that – it validates the time and energy… it recognizes that poetry and creative pursuits have a value.”
In his 17th year of teaching at Wor-Wic, Tavel is active in organizing poetry readings on campus and helping to put together the Echoes & Visions creative arts journal. He also brings the unique perspective of a working writer to the classroom.
“Writing makes me a better teacher, and teaching makes me a better writer,” he said. “I think students realize I’m in it with them; there’s a camaraderie. My students know I care about writing, and I emphasize that although it can be frustrating at times, writing can be creative and a way to explore your voice.”
Set to make a splash of their own, Tavel’s fourth and fifth books of poetry will be published this spring, so stay tuned for information about upcoming readings of the new works.