PULLMAN, Wash.–A new poetry corner at Washington State University will be named in honor of emeritus English professor Ruth Slonim. The public is invited to a dedication of the corner on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. in the Holland/New Library Atrium.
For many years WSU’s unofficial “Poet Laureate,” Slonim joined the WSU faculty in 1947 after teaching at several other institutions. She earned her undergraduate degree from Duluth State College and her advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. During her 36-year tenure at WSU, she taught modern poetry and English literature and coordinated a poetry reading series which featured major poets and WSU faculty members.
She was one of the first members of the WSU Honors Program faculty. Her work included research on Walt Whitman and reviews of other poets. Although she presented papers at professional conferences around the world, she kept her students, teaching and creative work her primary focus.
Among those who praised Slonim’s poetry are San Francisco columnist Herb Caen, Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill. Her work “London: An American Appreciation,” inspired a composition by C. Bosanquet which was performed in London in 1965. Her fourth volume of poetry, “Outer Traces, Inner Places,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1981.
Slonim received the Washington Governor’s Arts Award and was the first woman faculty member to be invited to deliver the WSU Distinguished Faculty address. She co-chaired the American Poetry Society with Robert Frost and W.H. Auden.
Slonim lives in Pullman, where she continues to write poetry, to advise junior faculty members, and to correspond with friends, family and former students.
The Ruth Slonim Poetry Corner will serve as a place for displaying new poetry books and for periodic poetry readings sponsored by the Department of English. It is located in the New Books Area of the Holland/New Library. The corner is a project of the WSU Libraries and the Department of English.