Dr. Tim Skeen, a Fresno State professor of English, is the University’s new James and Coke Hallowell Professor of Creative Writing, starting this fall.
The professorship was established in 2001 by the Hallowells in an effort to attract and retain exceptionally talented faculty for the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Fresno State.
Following the departure of Steve Yarbrough, the professor emeritus of English and award-winning fiction writer who was the first holder of the professorship, the award was turned into a rotational term. The holder is released from teaching one course each semester to allow time to write.
After Yarbrough, the professorship has been held by Dr. Corrinne Clegg Hales (2011-2014) and Steven Church (2014-2017).
Skeen joined the faculty in the Department of English in 2004 with a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He specializes in 20th century American poetry. He served as coordinator of the Master of Fine Arts Program from 2011 through this past spring.
Skeen said he is grateful for the extra time to write that’s provided by the Hallowell professorship. “This time will allow more opportunities to pursue poems that will become the core of my next book,” he said.
Skeen’s third poetry collection, “Reward,” is coming in September from Finishing Line Press. The poems largely focus on Skeen’s experiences with loss, grief and recovery while volunteering as an American Red Cross disaster assessment specialist, including time he spent in the Gulf Coast during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
His second poetry collection, “Risk,” won the 2014 White Pine Press Poetry Prize, and it was selected as the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Publication in the Department of English at Fresno State. His first poetry collection, “Kentucky Swami,” won the 2001 John Ciardi Prize for Poetry and was published by BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Skeen’s poems have also appeared in journals and magazines such as the Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, the Mid-American Review, The Southern Review and the Sonora Review. In February, he was featured in the Fresno State Talks student-selected lecture series, where he presented a talk on Bob Dylan and the Beat Poets.
His wife, Pam Weiner, works as an admissions adviser on campus. His daughter, Iris Skeen, is a freshman theater major at University of California, Santa Barbara.
As part of the Fresno Poets’ Association reading series, Skeen will read from his work at the creative writing faculty reading at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12. He will also give a featured reading at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 22. Both readings will be in the Alice Peters Auditorium (Peters Business building, Room 191) inside the University Business Center. The readings are free and open to the public.