UNH English Professor on a Poetic Mission to the U.K.

By Tracy Manforte
UNH News Bureau

DURHAM, N.H. -- Romana Huk, University of New Hampshire associate professor of English, has landed the lead on a poetic mission that will take her to Britain's Oxford Brookes University for two years.

Huk, who teaches 20th century British literature at UNH, has been selected to help launch and direct a new poetry center that will offer a graduate degree program, international colloquia, guest speakers and poetry readings. In addition to contributing to those programs, Huk will work on a book about post-modern theology and poetry and solicit essays for publication by the center. She begins the fellowship, which is funded by the British government, May 15.

Best known for her work on avant-garde poetry, Huk says the center, too, will take a non-traditional approach. She hopes its debut, in the shadows of nearby Oxford University, will help loosen the stereotypical image of Britain and its association with traditional forms and mainstream poets.

"The people I've talked with want the center to be a bit risky and radical," she says, noting that black British poets, working class poets, women and avant-garde poets, among others, will be studied with more emphasis than is usual in such programs.

While Huk's scholarship is highly regarded by her British peers, she says she won't be held to the same kind of cultural expectations. That's not an insult. In fact, she believes, it gives her more freedom to be creative. "As an American on British turf, I can trespass and do various things to put in the foreground people who might not be there otherwise.

"I feel 'bloody fortunate,' as the Brits might say, to have been chosen by a faculty that might well have stuck with the familiar -- a British colleague," she continues. "I couldn't have dreamed up a more fulfilling experience for myself at this stage of my career."

April 5, 2000

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