Dr. Kevin Stein
Carl Sandburg defined poetry as "the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment." Dr. Kevin Stein, who serves as Illinois Poet Laureate, has given his readers many such moments that have delighted and enlightened them.
A native of Indiana, Dr. Stein received his undergraduate degree at Ball State University and his master's and Ph.D. degrees at Indiana University. He has been at Bradley since 1984. Author of seven books of poetry, three scholarly books, numerous published poems in prestigious journals and anthologies, Dr. Stein is truly a leader in his field. According to one of his reviewers, "He is a poet-critic cut from the cloth of figures such as Randall Jarrell, John Berryman, Marianne Moore, and former Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky. Like these figures, he writes poetry and criticism with equal fluency––a deftly empathic poetry on the one hand, and an insightful humanistic criticism on the other."
Another reviewer writes, "It is the moral element of Stein's vision that sets his poetry apart from and above virtually all the poetry of his contemporaries, and Stein writes the best and the most important criticism that I have found in the last fifteen years. He may be the best poetry critic we have in America right now."
Dr. Stein is the 1993 recipient of Bradley University's Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award, and he was selected as the Caterpillar Professor of English in 2000. He received the 1987 Frederick Bock Prize awarded by Poetry, the 1992 Devins Award for Poetry, the 1998 Indiana Review Poetry Award, the Society of Midland Authors 2006 Poetry Award, and he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2001. In December of 2003, Dr. Stein joined the elite company of Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks as the Poet Laureate of Illinois.