Fairfield University English professor publishes book and wins Connecticut Commission on the Arts grant


Image: Kim BridgfordKim Bridgford, Ph.D., has a few things to celebrate this year. The Fairfield University professor was chosen to receive one of 28 2003 fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts (CCA). Dr. Bridgford's husband, Peter Duval, also won a $2,500 CCA fellowship, to do research on his first novel. And if that isn't enough to cheer, Dr. Bridgford just published her first book, a collection of poems entitled "Undone," which is available now.

It's all in a day's work for Bridgford, whose teaching accolades range from being chosen Connecticut Professor of the Year in 1994 by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to being named Advisor of the Year by Fairfield University students the year before.

"It's exciting to see the poems all together after years of hard work. And to have Jo Yarrington do the cover makes the experience even more special," Dr. Bridgford said, referring to a fellow Fairfield University faculty member, who is a professor of Visual and Performing Arts.

The poems in "Undone," all written in traditional forms, are about life's losses - understanding them and transcending them.

"Kim Bridgford's themes are large - mortal illness, extravagant love, religious longing but they are given to us in settings that are daily and familiar, whose poignancy comes from their particularity and ordinariness," said English poet Dick Davis. "Valery said that in a poem it takes as much energy to write 'garden' as to write 'universe' at once, and, what is far harder, to convince us of the truth of both at once," said Davis, referring to the French poet, Paul Valery, who passed away in 1945.

The $2,500 CCA grant will allow Dr. Bridgford to spend the summer writing poetry. Her husband, a Web applications-designer, will use the funding to travel and do research for a humorous road-trip novel that starts out with four guys enjoying a game of bocce at a cookout. Linda Dente, the senior program specialist of the CCA, presented the awards to Dr. Bridgford, Mr. Duval, and the other recipients on Thursday, March 27, at the State Capitol, as part of the state's celebration of Connecticut Arts Week, which runs from March 23 through March 29.

In her grant application statement to the CCA, Dr. Bridgford discussed the various avenues she would like to pursue in writing, which include poems about famous poets, sonnets on mythological and Biblical figures, and personal and humorous poems.

"The grant is both an affirmation and an incentive," Dr. Bridgford said. "I have work to do!"

Dr. Bridgford received her bachelor's degree and in M.F.A. in English from the University of Iowa in 1981. She went on to earn an A.M. and then a Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Dr. Bridgford's works have appeared in more than three hundred publications, including: The Georgia Review, The Quarterly, The Iowa Review, The Hollins Critic and The Formalist.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 26, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 223