A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
April 5, 2007 Volume 37 / Number 6


National Recognition for Troy Jollimore’s Poetry

NBCC autobiography nominee Alexander Masters (left) watches Troy Jollimore sign his copy of Jollimore’s winning collection, Tom Thompson in Purgatory, at the NBCC reception.

Photo by Ron Hogan, GallyCat.com

Troy Jollimore, Philosophy, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry at the awards ceremony on March 8 in New York City.

There were many surprise wins, according to writer Craig Morgan Teicher of Publisher’s Weekly. Jollimore’s Tom Thomson in Purgatory was called the “most unlikely win” by Teicher, as Jollimore was virtually unknown nationally before the win.

“ But, as a member of the poetry committee told me during the post-awards reception,” said Ron Hogan (galleycat.com), “it was ‘a clean win,’ even if his out-of-nowhere arrival stunned even the judges.”

Jollimore’s collection, his first book of poetry, was selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins for the 2005 Robert E. Lee and Ruth I. Wilson Poetry Book Award, and published last fall by Margie/IntuitHouse.

On the cover notes, Collins wrote, “Tom Thomson in Purgatory falls gracefully into the American tradition of the extended persona poem. … Jollimore knows how to trot forth a character as distinct as one who might be encountered in sharply rendered fiction. … Reading this book, you are bound to take both Tom Thomson and his creator to your heart.”

Jollimore, presently an external fellow at Stanford University, said, “I have been very, very lucky. Even to be able to publish a first book of poetry is lucky; it’s not as if there is any demand for it. To receive this sort of recognition is luckier still. People will actually read it now! What else is there to say? I’m thrilled and honored, and I hope this doesn’t mean that it’s all downhill from here!”

In addition to Tom Thomson, Jollimore has published poetry in journals including The Malahat Review, PRISM International, MARGIE, and Ploughshares. He also writes frequently for the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review.

Jollimore studied philosophy at Princeton University, receiving a PhD in 1999. Before joining the faculty at CSU, Chico, he taught at Georgetown University and the University of California, Davis. His philosophical articles have appeared in journals including Canadian Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, and Philosophy and Literature.

The NBCC, founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization consisting of nearly 700 active book reviewers who are interested in honoring quality writing. The centerpiece of NBCC activities is the annual award for the best book in each of five categories: fiction, general nonfiction, biography/autobiography, poetry, and criticism.

—Kathleen McPartland