Crisler, Curtis L. 1965-

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Crisler, Curtis L. 1965-


Born 1965. Education: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, M.F.A. (creative writing).


Home and office—Fort Wayne, IN.


Author and instructor at Indiana University—Purdue University, Fort Wayne.


NOMMO Literary Society.

Awards, Honors

Cave Canem fellow, 2003.


Tough Boy Sonatas, illustrations by Floyd Cooper, Wordsong (Honesdale, PA), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Fourth River and Black Arts Quarterly and to the anthology The Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami.


Poet and educator Curtis L. Crisler has published his poems in several journals, including Fourth River and Black Arts Quarterly. His children's book Tough Boy Sonatas incorporates his verses with the paintings of renowned artist Floyd Cooper. Tough Boy Sonatas presents a series of poems that explores the individual stories of young men growing up in Gary, Indiana. The verses capture the character of diverse individuals and convey the character of each young man in a manner considered "thought-provoking" by Black Issues Book Review critic Clarence V. Reynolds.

Gillian Engberg, reviewing Tough Boy Sonatas in Booklist, commented that Crisler incorporates a "skillful manipulation of sound, rhythm, and form" into his collection, adding that "the poems are filled with sophisticated imagery and graphic words." Engberg also acknowledged Crisler's work as "potent [and] hard-hitting," while a School Library Journal reviewer wrote

that the author "palpably captures … the hopes and dreams" of Gary, Indiana's careworn young men. Also writing in School Library Journal, Susan Moorhead surmised Crisler's collection of poems as "muscular and vivid, fierce with the sound and force of language."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Black Issues Book Review, March-April, 2007, Clarence V. Reynolds, "Coming of Age—Free-Verse Style," p. 23.

Booklist, February 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of Tough Boy Sonatas, p. 50.

Books, March 4, 2007, Mary Harris Russell, review of Tough Boy Sonatas, p. 7.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Tough Boy Sonatas, p. 326.

Publishers Weekly, March 5, 2007, "Rhyme Time," p. 64.

School Library Journal, March, 2007, Susan Moorhead, review of Tough Boy Sonatas, p. 225.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2007, Mary Ann Harlan, review of Tough Boy Sonatas, p. 268.


Boyds Mills Press Web site, (February 28, 2008).

Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Web site, (February 28, 2008), "Curtis L. Crisler."

L'Intrigue Web site, (February 28, 2008).