Creative Writing and Literary Arts
Derick Burleson is the author of Never Night (Marick Press 2008). His first collection of poems, Ejo: Poems, Rwanda 1991-94, won the 2000 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. He was also the recipient of a 1999 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Poetry, and many other journals. He lived and taught English in Rwanda in the two years leading up to the genocide which took place in 1994. A recipient of a 1999 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, Burleson teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and lives with his partner and daughter in Two Rivers, Alaska.
Derick Burleson's poetry has garnered much praise and many honors, including the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. This, his fourth book, was built from a list of 600 words commonly used in the English language according to the frequency with which they appear in printed material. This word list was created by Dr. Edward Fry in the mid 1990s. Derick made each poem from this word list, in the order in which the words were presented on the list, a technique never been used before in the writing of a book of poems.
"The sense-drenched offerings in MELT once again cement Derick Burleson's role as unflinching witness, a master spinner of huge tales in tiny spaces. The insistent lyrical current that pulses through these deftly-forged stanzas create a music that will immediately enthrall and captivate the reader. Burleson is a startlingly good poet who burns down borders with every word."—Patricia Smith
Never Night, 2008
Derick Burleson is a thoughtful and deeply observant poet, who has travelled far: to Rwanda, from where he wrote his first book, and in this book, to Oklahoma, Montana, and the Alaskan interior, never night and endless night. In the endless night, his prophet says '...and the world will grow/ rife with strange green fire...'and in this book, the world grows fiery with many other births, in consciousness and in the flesh, seen and said.
"Derick Burleson's wonderfully daring and unified collection of poems about Rwanda is so empathic, so bracing and forthright, so richly humane—at times comical, at times heartbreaking—that we come away from its testament radically deepened, shaken, enlivened, and changed."—Edward Hirsch