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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Professor earns national prize and publication of manuscript on Antarctica travels

Antelope Valley College English Professor Charles Hood has won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. He will receive $1,000 and publication of his book manuscript, “South x South,” based on his travels in Antarctica.

This is the second writing award Hood has won in six months. Last fall he won the Best Article award from ECCTYC, the English Council of Two-Year Colleges, the second time he had been recognized by this group.

This time Hood’s manuscript submission was judged the best out of 400 entries. The contest judge was Jordan Davis, poetry editor for “The Nation” magazine.

Kevin Haworth, executive editor, Ohio University Press and Swallow Press, says of the work that “Charles Hood’s book brings us the news from the bottom of the world, in all its harsh glory. In his poems, Antarctica, that distant and strange land, feels just a little bit closer—no less terrifying, but a place engaged with history and human lives. Ohio University Press is delighted that ‘South x South’ is this year’s Hollis Summers Poetry Prize winner.”

The book will explore the connection between American aviation and scientific knowledge. It will present polar aviation from a hot air balloon in 1902 through Admiral Byrd’s flight over the South Pole in 1929 to the first plane to land at the South Pole. That was a brave and risky landing by a Navy pilot in 1957; when they tried to take off, the skis had frozen in place in the ice and it took repeated firings of rocket boosters to get back in the air.

The book goes on to look at US military operations today. As Hood says, “Without airplanes and helicopters, science wouldn’t happen.”

Hood has been to Antarctica twice; once to visit Chilean and Uruguayan bases, and once to McMurdo Station and the South Pole, funded by an Artist and Writer’s Grant from the National Science Foundation.

“Compared to Antarctica,” he says, “the Antelope Valley seems rather hemmed-in and over-populated. Going to Antarctica was like going to the moon.”

Sponsored by Ohio University, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize is named after the distinguished poet who taught for many years at Ohio University. Hood’s book will be released by Ohio University Press in April 2013.