Heldrich, Philip 1965–
Heldrich, Philip 1965–
PERSONAL: Born November 6, 1965, in Chicago, IL; married; children: one. Education: University of California, San Diego, B.A., 1988; Kansas State University, M.A., 1993; Oklahoma State University, Ph.D., 1997. Hobbies and other interests: Fishing, Hiking, and camping with family.
ADDRESSES: Home—Orting, WA. Office—Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Tacoma, Box 358436, 1900 Commerce St, Tacoma WA 98402-3100. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer and educator. Emporia State University, Emporia, KA, former director of Bluestem Press and assistant professor and director of creative writing; University of Washington, Tacoma, assistant professor.
MEMBER: American Culture Association, Southwest/Texas American and Popular Culture Associations (director), Modern Language Association, Association of Writers and Writing Programs.
AWARDS, HONORS: Kansas State University Award in Fiction, 1993; Janemarie Luecke Memorial Prize for Poetry, 1996; Herman M. Swafford Fiction Award for Best Journal of the Year, 1999; X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, 1999, for Good Friday; Mid-List Press First Series Award for Creative Nonfiction, 2005, for Out Here in the out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives.
Good Friday: Poems, Texas Review Press (Huntsville, TX), 2000.
Out Here in the out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives, Mid-List Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2004.
Poems and short stories have appeared in periodicals, including American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Birmingham Poetry Review, Great Plains Quarterly, Kansas English, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Oasis, Potpourri, Southern Quarterly, and Studies in Short Fiction. Work has appeared in anthologies, including From Our Front Porch: New Western Poems of Kansas, Woodley Memorial Press (Topeka, KS); Our Working Lives: Short Stories of People and Work; and Texas Bound III: Twenty-two Texas Stories.
SIDELIGHTS: Philip Heldrich is the author of poems, short stories, and essays. In a review of his work Good Friday: Poems, Midwest Quarterly contributor Denise Low noted the "culture-nature dialectic forms the tension of the poems." "Nature intrudes in all the poems," Low went on to note, "forcing people to interact with mortality, landscape, or seasons." Many of the poems in Heldrich's collection focus on the Midwest, where Heldrich grew up. He also writes about topics such as language and the discarded items on the side of a country road. In her review, Low commented, "Heldrich's gift is his ability to elevate personal narratives to compelling drama." The reviewer added, "Few poets debut with accomplished vision of language and theme. Heldrich is one of the happy exceptions."
Out Here in the out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives presents ten essays about a variety of topics, ranging from popular culture to different genres of regional American writing. "Humor is a big element of the book," Heldrich explained on the Emporia State University Web site. "It's more sardonic, rather than sarcastic humor, a comedy of the incongruous." The author also pointed out that the collection employs an experimental structure. For example, the introductory chapter appears in the center of the volume, while specific essay topics include a memorial for a dead friend, Disneyland, Las Vegas, and cultural aspects specific to the West. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "A mixed bag" containing "some good moments, but mostly unsatisfying." Nevertheless, the reviewer noted, in the author's "best moments" he "serves up affecting essays about little-visited places out on the prairie and desert." Writing in Booklist, Rebecca Maksel called Hedrich's essays "a happy melding of social commentary with the best sort of travel writing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2004, Rebecca Maksel, review of Out Here in the out There: Essays in a Region of Superlatives, p. 700.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2004, review of Out Here in the out There, p. 1038.
Midwest Quarterly, winter, 2002, Denise Low, review of Good Friday: Poems, p. 244.
Emporia State University Web site, http://emporia.edu/ (April 4, 2005), "ESU Professor's Writing Wins First Series Book Award."
University of Washington, Tacoma, Web site, http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/ (March 24, 2005), "Philip Heldrich."