Haskins, Lola 1943-
HASKINS, Lola 1943-
PERSONAL: Born 1943. Education: Stanford University, B.A. (social thought; summa cum laude), 1965.
ADDRESSES: Office—P.O. Box 18, LaCrosse, FL 32658-0018. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: University of Florida, lecturer in computer and information sciences, 1979—; North Shore Young Writers' Conference, member of faculty, 1993-96; Florida Humanities Council, lecturer, 1994; Suncoast Writer's Conference, member of faculty faculty, 1997; Writer's Conference, Charleston, SC, member of faculty, 1998; writer-in-residence, The Writer's Voice, Tampa, FL, 2000. Annual Convention of Federation of State Poetry Societies, Melbourne, FL, featured speaker, 2001.
MEMBER: Poets and Writers (NY), Phi Beta Kappa, Creative Arts Committee, Poetry Society of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, fellowships in literature, 1979, 1981, 1990; Southern Poetry Review prize for narrative poetry, 1981, for "Changing the Speed Limit,"; National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in literature, 1984; First Lectureship in Historical Poetry, Library Company of Philadelphia, 1986; New York Quarterly, Madeline Sadin Award, 1987, for "The Man Who Worked with Fellini,"; New England Review, prize in narrative poetry, 1989, for "Six Cairns for Mary,"; Edwin Ford Piper Award, 1992, and Iowa Poetry Prize, 1993, both for Hunger,. Writer/Emily Dickinson Award for poetry, 1995, for "Tuning,"; Teaching Improvement Program Award, 1997; MacDowell Colony, fellow, 1998.
Planting the Children, University Press of Florida (Orlando, FL), 1983.
Castings, Countryman Press (Woodstock, VT), 1984.
Across Her Broad Lap Something Wonderful, Betony Press (Woodstock, VT), 1989.
Forty-four Ambitions for the Piano, University Press of Florida (Orlando, FL), 1990.
Hunger, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IO), 1993.
(With Woody Walters) Visions of Florida, University Press of Florida (Orlando, FL), 1994.
Extranjera, Story Line Press (Brownsville, OR), 1998.
Desire Lines, New and Selected Poems, Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 2001.
The Rim-Benders, Anhinga Press (Tallahassee, FL), 2001.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Working on a book of environmental essays, a children's story, and a book of advice for young poets.
SIDELIGHTS: Lola Haskins has published seven collections of poetry, and she has done most of this while employed as a professor of computer and information sciences. Many critics have proclaimed her a multifaceted poet.
Although Haskins explained in an interview for the online 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, that she has loved poetry all her life, she admited that she didn't think about writing until she went to Greece when she was twenty-three years old. "When I saw the landscape, it swept over me. Now, I see, I thought. And I started writing."
Her publishing career began with the collection, Planting the Children (1983). The overall theme of the poems in this collection is change, such as the transitions that occur in marriage, in moving from one country to another, in giving birth to children and watching them grow, and in witnessing the death of loved ones. In his Hudson Review article about Haskin's first collection, James Finn Cotter wrote that in "her fine first volume of verse," Haskins reminds her readers that "our journeys take us no further than ourselves."
In 1990, Haskins produced another collection, Forty-four Ambitions for the Piano, reflecting her own interest, as well as that of one of her children, in music. Some of Haskins's poems play with specific musical terms as she uses metaphorical images to give her readers an almost cinematic explanation of how a musician might understand certain ways of playing musical passages. For instance, in one poem she describes the term pianissimo, which indicates that the music should be played softly. Haskins compares this to laying a shawl around the shoulders of an old woman.
Other poems in this collection use musical motifs to explore psychological insights. Like a musical virtuoso skillfully beginning a recital in very quite tones, Paul Cooper, writing for American Music Teacher, stated that "Haskins commands our immediate attention," while Pat Monaghan, writing for Booklist, declared, "More books like this would widen poetry's audience." Monaghan maintained that Haskins' collection should appeal not only to general reading audiences, but also especially to musicians.
Hunger: Poems (1993) is Haskins's fourth published collection, and critics have described it as having a feminist tone. Scott Ward, writing in the SouthernHumanities Review, referred to the feminist approach in Haskins's writing: "If they are feminist," Ward wrote, they "are so in the best sense of that term, because they do more than prescribe political territory. They engage in real exploration and do not rush to portray their characters as victims." In some of the poems, Haskins employs historical images to express the confinements that society often places on women. "It is in the section of historical poems that Haskins is her strongest," stated critic Robert Schultz in the Hudson Review. "When Haskins takes on the voices of historical speakers, image and conceit become more striking and original, while syntax becomes more varied and inventive."
In other poems, such as when Haskins uses Mexico as a backdrop, artists and their paintings work as mediums through which Haskins expresses emotional hungers that ties these poems together. Hunger won the Iowa Poetry prize and was a co-winner of the Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Award.
In a more recent publication, Extranjera (1998), Haskins again draws on the people and environment of Mexico. She focuses on the lives of locals and travelers who are passing through, offering colorful vignettes of Mexican culture to her readers in the process. Haskins's poems in this collection, as stated by Janet St. John in Booklist, showed "an acuteness of perception and a maturity of restraint that are refreshing."
Women are the main subject matter in Haskins's 2001 collection, Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems, which contains some poems previously published, and over twenty new ones. Spanning five historical periods, the female characters that color this collection are busy doing things that most women find themselves doing, such as housework, enjoying the arts, emotionally supporting a husband, bearing, and sometimes mourning the loss of children.
Haskins has also written an introduction to photographer Woody Walters's book, Visions of Florida, which explores the landscape of that southern state. When she's not busy teaching, she collaborates with the dance troupe Dance Alive!
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Book Review, September, 1995, Lynne Lawner, "Brushstrokes," p. 19.
American Music Teacher, April/May, 1991, Paul Cooper, review of Forty-four Ambitions for the Piano, p. 50.
Booklist, July 1983, review of Planting the Children, p. 1384; October 15, 1990, Pat Monaghan, review of Forty-four Ambitions for the Piano, p. 411; February 15, 1998, Janet St. John, review of Extranjera, p. 969.
Hudson Review, winter, 1983, James Finn Cotter, review of Planting the Children, p. 715; Autumn 1994, Robert Schultz, review of Hunger, p. 475.
Kirkus Review, March 1, 1998, review of Extranjera, p. 301.
Library Journal, January 1994, Jessica Grim, review of Hunger, p. 119.
Music Educators Journal, May, 1991, review of Forty-four Ambitions for the Piano, p. 63.
Publishers Weekly, February 23, 1998, "Strangers in Strange Lands," p. 71.
Southern Humanities Review, summer, 1995, Scott Ward, review of Hunger, pp. 303-08.
3rd Muse Poetry Journal,http://www.3rdmuse.com/ (March 7, 2002), "Interview with Lola Haskins."*