Professor Emeritus of English at KSUA writes his ninth book | Local News

ASHTABULA – Roger Craik, professor emeritus of English at Kent State University Ashtabula, is the author of his ninth book of poetry, ‘In Other Days’.

The book will be launched in September at the University of Amsterdam.

In the 74-page collection, Craik writes about several experiences and places, including family, art, history, travel, Poland, Amsterdam, England, and locally – Geneva National Park on a very rainy.

Craik found the title of one of his poems, which contains the words “in other days”. But he said the words actually came from poet and London native Walter de la Mare, whose work he appreciates.

On the back cover of ‘In Other Days’, American poet Donald Revell says of the collection: ‘Every moment of Roger Craik’s ‘In Other Days’ is an event of inviolable, golden music, like the best of the music always is, with both finitude and duration.

One of the plays, “Exile”, is a four-part poem about a Russian painter who spends four years studying art in Paris, then has to return to Russia for an arranged marriage, surprising the reader with a quick exit to the middle. From nowhere.

Not all poems are in four parts. One, “Lewes, 1966”, has only seven lines.

Craik spends his retirement traveling, writing poetry and giving speaking engagements. Not one to let the grass grow under his feet, Craik is collecting poems for another book he’s titled “Alightings.”

Several of Craik’s comprehensive poetry collections have been translated into various languages, including a book written as a tribute to his late mother, “In Memory of Wendy Ann Craik”, which was translated into Belarusian by professors Lyuba Pervushina and Ivan Charota at the University of Minsk in Belarus, a small landlocked country that was once part of the USSR.

One of his favorite books is the one he didn’t write. Rather, his parents illustrated and colored it for him as a young boy – a facsimile of Robert Browning’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin, A Child’s Story”.

His parents, Tom and Wendy Craik, gave it to him on his sixth birthday in 1962, when he was considered old enough to enjoy it. He remembers having enjoyed having “The Pied Piper” read to him as well as having felt his parents’ taste for reading aloud and their pause to point to the illustrations.

Several years ago, with his parents’ permission, Craik made a copy of the treasured book in Nottingham, England, and began sending it to friends as an attachment.

“Everyone who saw it loved it,” he said. “I never make money from my books because I give copies to all my friends.”

Tom Craik, who died in 2017, wrote Browning’s words, nothing added or deleted, but the illustrations are entirely from his parents’ imagination. They were then 32 and 25 years old.

This book has been translated into Bulgarian, as well as into Romanian. It was exhibited at the Gaudeamus International Book Fair in Bucharest. In the fall of 2017, “Pied Piper” was translated into Russian and released in Minsk, Belarus.

Craik’s poetry has appeared in several national poetry journals, such as “The Formalist”, “Fulcrum”, “The Literary Review”, and “The Atlanta Review”.

English by birth and educated at the universities of Reading and Southampton, Craik has worked as a journalist, television critic and chess columnist. Before coming to the United States in 1991, he worked at Turkish universities and received a Beineke Fellowship at Yale in 1990.

He has traveled widely, having visited North Yemen, Egypt, South Africa, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, Amsterdam, Bulgaria — where he taught in the spring of 2007 on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of Sofia — and, more recently, the United Arab Emirates, Austria and Croatia.

The pandemic kept Craik at home for 2020-21, and he spent his time watching the birds, happily, he said. Last winter, he was finally able to travel to Amsterdam for a vacation.

Retired or not, Craik says poetry is his passion. He writes for at least an hour over coffee every morning before breakfast.

But wherever Craik travels, Ashtabula is always his home base.

“I am grateful to the late KSUA Dean John Mahan for hiring me in 1991 and allowing me to have this wonderful life in America,” he said. “I mention it at all my lectures. I’m so lucky.