by Lisa Mills Walters, Published March 26, 2012
Creative Writing student Sean Kilpatrick has been named this year's recipient of the Writing Award given by the Department of English Language and Literature.
Kilpatrick, a native of Detroit, attended community college and then earned a BA in English at Oakland University in Rochester before coming to EMU in Fall 2010. He chose EMU because of its Creative Writing program, not realizing that one of his favorite writers, Christine Hume, was a faculty member. Kilpatrick says his interest is mainly in poetry, specifically absurdist poetry. He's been inspired by the "comedy of menace and theatre of cruelty," naming author Blake Butler and playwright Harold Pinter, among others, as writers whose work he admires.
Kilpatrick was 20 years old the first time one of his poems was published. Since then, he's had poetry published in the Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Fence, New York Tyrant, and others. With Blake Butler he has co-written a novel, Anatomy Courses, which is due to be released by Lazy Fascist Press this month. He describes as "plot-less and language heavy.... Butler would write a page and then I would write a page." Kilpatrick says of writing in general, "[It] is language-based to the extent that truthfulness or anything straightforward is not possible."
Kilpatrick says he felt very grateful when he learned he had won the award. He credits faculty member Christine Hume for encouraging him, saying she "has been amazing the whole time, a huge help and inspiration to me." He also thanks Rob Halpern, whom he calls "a great workshop guy."
Kilpatrick will graduate in April; he would like to teach at a community college or work as a technical editor. He says a further degree is not in his immediate future but is always a possibility. He will present at the Graduate Research Fair on March 26 at the Student Center in Room 222 at 3:30 p.m. His presentation will focus on "The Buff Ruins," a lyric essay that "compares the recent economic downfall of Detroit with the diseased memoirs of an author who has endured several failed personal relationships."