Biography

WHO AM I? A BRIEF TWO-PART BIOGRAPHY

I thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes

E.E. Cummings

CULTIVATING DIGNITY IN MY OWN GARDEN

(FROM CANDIDE, by Voltaire)

To my share-cropping grandfather who studied paths of clouds, the tilt of the moon, the richness (acids and alkali) of soil, DIGNITY lay in his predictions: his seed selections, his sweat, his yield in bushels of corn, bales of cotton and hay, pecks of purple hull peas in fall to fill and hold our household of ten (10) securely fed and warm through winter.

To my father whose tongue failed at English, but who studied the unsteady sputter of engines, the smoke of exhausts, the minute calculations of a micrometer with his own mathematical formula in every engine that moved from lawn mowers to diesel tractors, DIGNITY lay in his precise diagnosis, his quick analytical mind and quicker skilled hand as he restored the roar or hum of the engine that had once failed to generate power.

To the teacher-and-writer me, DIGNITY lies in each person’s yearning to express his/her special gifts, for he/she can make vital and lasting contributions to this struggling, complex, and beautiful garden, our world. I long to share the power, magic, and beauty of words (my own seeds of love) with this world by cultivating my own garden for the rest of my life.

Charlotte

After completing her Ph.D. from L.S.U. and teaching there for five years, Charlotte Renk moved to Athens, Texas and found inspiration for poetry and stories that come from long walks in the woods behind her East Texas cabin and from reflections accumulated over many years while teaching English, Humanities, and Creative Writing at Trinity Valley Community College.

Before she won the 2017 Catherine Case Lubbe Manuscript Prize for her latest book, THIS GREAT TURTLE HEART: THE TAO OF TURTLISM, she published three other books: THESE HOLY HUNGERS: SECRET YEARNINGS FROM AN EMPTY CUP, winner of the state Poetry Society manuscript competition by Eakin Press in 2009, SOLIDAGO, AN ALTAR TO WEEDS, published by Austin’s Poetry in the Arts in 2010, and THE TENDEREST PETAL HEARS, co-winner of the Blue Horse Press Chapbook prize in 2014. Although she has published in such journals as Kalliope, Oracle, Mochila Review, New Texas-’93,’95, Concho River Review, Sow’s Ear, Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas and Southwest Review, as well as anthologies, such as HER TEXAS, THE SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY (Vol 8, TEXAS), A TEXAS GARDEN OF VERSES, WRITING TEXAS, and PST’S BOOK OF THE YEAR, she notes that what matters most to her is kindness, love, dignity of life —family, nature, teaching, hiking, wildflowers, birds, critters of the woods, etc. which provide themes and metaphors to light the Way (Tao) of life. “What I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled,” to feed hungry hearts with verse that speaks to that which is real—love, dreams, beauty, truth, natural, and yes.

Short Stories

“The Smell of Tobacco; the Feel of Bread,” Short Stories II (National Storyteller Award) 1999

“Irby’s Biscuits,” Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Vol 8, 2011

“Conviction,” Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Vol 8, 2011

“Duct Tape,” Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Vol 8, 2011

“Castrating Little Man,” Texas Short Stories, Browder Springs Publishing, 1997

“The Way Stretches Long,” New Texas,‘95

“Of Brie, Lovey Dee, and a Burmese Python,” Atelier, Spring, 1994

“Gully Time,” New Texas,’93,University of North Texas Press, 1993

“Why I Write,” Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Vol 8, 2011

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION:

  • Ph.D. Louisiana State University (LSU) 1981 Doctoral Research: A Humanities-oriented, Cognitive Stimulation Model to Improve the Descriptive Writing Ability of Underprepared College Freshmen
  • Post-Doctoral Studies
    • »   East Texas State University
    • »   Western New Mexico University
    • »   West Texas A&M University
    • »   University of Texas, (Tyler)
  • Creative writing workshops with Naomi Nye, Marvin Bell, William Stafford, Walt McDonald, Wendy Barker, Antonya Nelson, Jim Simmerman, Frank Gaspar

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • »   Professor of English, Humanities, and Creative Writing, Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) 1982-2012
  • »   English and Education Instructor, LSU, 1976-1981
  • »   President of Texas Association of Developmental Educators, 1985-1986, program cited Exemplary, National Directory of Developmental Education, Appalachia Center
  • »   Founder and Coordinator of Trinity Valley Community College community-wide Literary Festivals for 25 years with local poets and Texas Poets Laureate, such as Karla Morton, Alan Birkelbach, Larry Thomas, and Carol Coffee Reposa …
  • »   Conductor of numerous poetry and writing workshops; examples follow: (i.e. Dallas Poetry Society “Pegasus Chapter, monthly, 2017-18, Rusk Co., Tarrant Co. Texoma PST, Ellis Art Gallery, Athens; Trinity Valley PST, State PST Conferences for years , Keynote lecturer and workshop leader at Lucidity Poetry Retreat in Eureka Springs, Arkansas for nearly ten (10) years till 2016.
  • »   Presenter at numerous English, Poetry Society, and Creative Writing Conferences (i.e. Langdon Review Conferences for ten+ years till 2018, Elmer Kelton San Angelo State University Writing Festivals for several years till 2018, Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers (TACWT) annual conferences for nearly 25 years till 2018, University of Houston Literary Festival, 1995, Conference of College Teachers of English, 1995, Concho River Museum Literary Festival, 1992-94, CCTE/CEA Regional Conferenced, Southwest Pop Culture Conferences, Albuquerque, Two-year College English Association Conference, Colorado, 1995, Center for Texas Studies Literary Festivals, Keynote speaker, workshop leader, and poetry judge, Midland Poetry Festival, 1995, Two-Year College Association Southwest Conference, New Orleans, 1998, National Humanities Conference, Portland; NCTE, Pittsburg
  • »   Sponsor and judge of PST student poetry contest, the “Courage” Award, 10+ years
  • »   Sponsor and judge of PST adult contest, “Courage to Speak the Truth, 10+ years

Note: Journal and Anthology titles are listed by year of publication before titles of poems are entered. When multiple poems were published in a journal/anthology, they are listed within that same entry. Poetry Society of Texas (PST) Books of the Year publish only first place poems in the state Poetry Contests.*

2018 SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, VOL. VIII: TEXAS, "Killing the Cormorant," Texas Review Press

2018 SOUTHERN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, VOL. VIII: TEXAS, "Knock and the Door Shall," Texas Review Press

2018 2017 Catherine Case Lubbe Manuscript Prize, THIS GREAT TURTLE HEART: THE TAO OF TURTLISM, Poetry Society of Texas

2018 POETRY SOCIETY OF TEXAS SUMMER CONFERENCE ANTHOLOGY, "When Someday Comes"

2017 WRITING TEXAS, "Who Knows…" "Pilgrim's Soulful Knowing," "Mana; Aftermath of Loss," "She Walks in Beauty," "Mobile Home," Lamar University Press

2016 SWITCHGRASS REVIEW, "Fragile Faith Circling that Dark Slither"

2016 SWITCHGRASS REVIEW, "Kintsukuroi"

2016 SWITCHGRASS REVIEW, "Beautiful and Binding as Kudzu"

2016 BEARING THE MASK: SOUTHWESTERN PERSONA POEMS, "Corbett's Conatus," Dos Gatos Press

2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Colors, Tongues, and Designs of the Mind," "Beauty Beyond Terror," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2016 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Ode to Socks, Wheelbarrows, and Vines (II)" "They are So Far Past," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2015 WRITING TEXAS, "Verismo," "Grasshopper Mouse," Lamar University Press

2015 HER TEXAS: Anthology of Texas Women's Voices "Hurricane Reverie, Persimmoned Memory" Wings Press of San Antonio

2015 HER TEXAS: Anthology of Texas Women's Voices ,"Rocking from the Irrawaddy to Wal-Mart," Wings Press of San Antonio

2015 HER TEXAS: Anthology of Texas Women's Voices, "Rugged and Common as Stone," Wings Press of San Antonio

2015 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Telltane Truth: The August of Our Lives," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2015 VOICES DE LA LUNA, “Clasping Alice"

2014 WRITING TEXAS, "Witness," "The Fifth Season," "Human Wood," Lamar University Press

2014 BOOK OF THE YEAR,"A Letter, A Flower, A Prayer," "These Tender Things Become Our Wings," "What My Mentor Did Not Say There II,"Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2014 SAN PEDRO RIVER REVIEW, THE TENDEREST PETAL HEARS, Blue Horse Chapbook Contest Co-winner

2014 ILLYA'S HONEY "37 in 1: Vapors," "Boarding Up The Old House," "Do You Wear a Purple Song?"

2014 RED RIVER REVIEW, "Punctuating Adrian"

2014 WINGBEATS II, "Sonnet: Little Traitors Everywhere," Dos Gatos Press

2014 A TEXAS GARDEN OF VERSES: AN ANTHOLOGY, "Lantana's Song," "Abide," "Amoeba Gods of Light," "Killing the Cormorant," "Heart Beat"

2013 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "The Way of Cows," "Slow Truck, Fast Truck," "Leaky Pen Whimpering in Sonora," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2013 VOICES DE LA LUNA, "Fracking Jack," "Van Gogh's Potato Eater at Home”

2012 LANGDON REVIEW OF ARTS IN TEXAS, VOL. 8, "Why I Write," "Irby's Biscuits," "Conviction," "Duct Tape"

2012 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Adagio," "Frog Teacher Croaks," "Let Us Linger Before the Blue Ribbon," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2011 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Sweet Surrender," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2010 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Abide," "Fugitive Womb," "Gratitude For One," "How Pronuba Lights the 'Lamp of Our Lord'," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2010 POETRY IN THE ARTS, AUSTIN, SOLIDAGO: AN ALTAR TO WEEDS

2009 THIRD WEDNESDAY, “And He Cradled Against Thousands of Hearts"

2009 THESE HOLY HUNGERS: SECRET YEARNINGS FROM AN EMPTY CUP, Eakin Press, Winner of Poetry Society Manuscript Competition

2009 TEXAS POETRY CALENDAR, "What Mushrooms Whisper," "Where the Low Webs Spread," Dos Gatos Press

2009 BOOK OF THE YEAR, “An Amber Lit Hike,” “Angel in Her Purse,” “Bracing for the Long Day,” “Maria Morning Glory,” “That Luminous and Primal Song,” “Today, I Am Mount Lemon”

2009 TEXAS POETRY CALENDAR, "Nothing in the World…," Dos Gatos Press

2008 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Holipski's Lilies," "That Foul Rag-and-Bone Shop of the Heart," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2008 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Nip of Fall," "Marsupial Man,” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2007 BOOK OF THE YEAR, “Little Eva and the Thorn Apple,” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2006 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Ungraspable Radiance," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2006 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Exorcising a Worry Knot,” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2006 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Heart Beat," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2006 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "One Ear Hears, The Other One Feels," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2006 KALLIOPE: A JOURNAL OF WOMEN'S LITERATURE AND ART, "The Rhythm of Rice"

2005 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Lantana's Song," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2004 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Killing the Cormorant,” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2004 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Some Poems Are Not Subtle," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2004 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Back of the Cave With an Empty Trough," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2003 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Solitary Walk Toward Passion," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2003 MOCHILA REVIEW, "Nonc Jules and Lachez-Les, 'Let It Be'"

2003 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Of Morning Glories and Fire Ants," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2003 THE IMAGE WAREHOUSE, "How Sorrow Comes Single," "Broken Stained Glass"

2003 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Steel-Toed Words and Their Eyes," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2003 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "The River Mud," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2002 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Kill Her and Let Her Heart Grow Wild," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2002 TEXAS IN POETRY 2, "Past Perm and Glitz," "Mistletoe Kills," TCU Press

2002 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Riding the Wake,” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2001 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Stump Man Tastes Verbena," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

2001 BOOK OF THE YEAR, "Crochet Regret," Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

1999 CHILI VERDE REVIEW, "Mary, What Big Hands You Have"

1998 NEW TEXAS '98, "Green Song to Morning Glories," University of North Texas Press

1998 NEW TEXAS '98 "Disconnections of Fingers, Butt, Squash, Opera, and Air" University of North Texas Press

1998 NEW TEXAS '98 "Bootstraps” Center for Texas Studies

1996 BOOK OF THE YEAR "Sins of Piss and Piscinity” Poetry Society of Texas Anthology

1996 EL LOCOFOCO "And What Shall I…" Chapultepec Press

1996 BOOK OF THE YEAR "Earshot" Poetry Society of Texas Anthology ORACLE "What My Mentor Did Not Say There" "How Words Walk the Water"

1995 NEW TEXAS, '95 "My Last Bit of Pecan Pie" "Flaming Nightie: an Exorcism" Center for Texas Studies

1995 NEW TEXAS, '95 "Disconnections of Eyes, Fingers, Farmalls, Roses, Trumpets…Air" Center for Texas Studies, University of North Texas Press

1995 WILD TURKEY: A LITERARY REVIEW "The Bitch"

1995 SOW'S EAR "Domestic Hedonism: After All Was Said and Done"

1994 CHRYSALIS "Idiosyncratic Contemplations of Navels, Sipapu, Chi"

1994 ECHOES FROM THE LAKE "Claire-At-Seven" "Boy With Down's Syndrome"

1994 TEXAS IN POETRY: A 150 YEAR ANTHOLOGY "An Old Woman's Reflections on a Texas Cornfield Viewed from Valvista Nursing Home in September” Center for Texas Studies

1994 TEXAS IN POETRY: A 150 YEAR ANTHOLOGY "Mistletoe Kills…" Center for Texas Studies

TEXAS IN POETRY: A 150 YEAR ANTHOLOGY "Past Perm and Glitz" Center for Texas Studies

1993 CULEBRA: A LITERARY REVIEW "Two Nymphs of the Pseudoregma"

1993 RE: ARTS AND LETTERS, SPRING, 1993 "Your Mother's Death is in Our Bed"

1993 SOUTHWEST AMERICAN LITERATURE "Sins of Piscinity"

1992 CONCHO RIVER REVIEW, SPRING "Of Wings and Gardens: A Perspective"

1992 PAISANO, A LITERARY REVIEW "Father Luis Speaks to Carmela" Maverick Press

1991 RIVERSEDGE "37 Chicken Heads Scattered in the Dust" pub. As "Old Fashioned Chicken Kill"

1991 RIVERSEDGE "An Old Woman's Reflections on a Texas Cornfield Viewed from Valvista Nursing Home in September"

Charlotte Renk's Books

Discover the full range of books by Charlotte Renk.

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