Lewis Turco

Lewis Turco

Lewis P. Turco (born May 2, 1934), is an American poet, teacher, and writer of fiction and non-fiction. Turco is an advocate for Formalist poetry (or New Formalism) in the United States.

Life and work

Turco took a keen interest in poetry as a teenager and after high school, while serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Hornet (CV-12), he had work published in various little magazines and quarterlies.[1] He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1959, published his First Poems in 1960, and completed an MA at the University of Iowa in 1962 (at the Iowa Writers' Workshop). It was there that he cultivated an interest in formal verse and began, to use his words, "collecting forms." Turco collected these forms in the Book of Forms, published in the 1960s, a time when it would seem odd to do so since most poets were writing free verse.

Turco taught at Fenn College in Cleveland (now Cleveland State University) where he founded the Cleveland Poetry Center and at the State University of New York at Oswego where he was founding Director of the Program in Writing Arts.

In 1986 Lewis Turco won the Melville Cane Award of the Poetry Society of America for his book of criticism "Visions and Revisions of American Poetry" and in 1992 he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Alumni Association of the University of Connecticut. He was inducted into the Meriden, Connecticut, Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 1999 he received the John Ciardi Award for lifetime achievement in poetry sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation. In May 2000 he received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Ashland University in Ohio and a second from the University of Maine at Fort Kent in 2009. His book Satan's Scourge: A Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England 1580-1697 won the Wild Card category of the New England Book Festival in the same year.

Since 2012 he has been in the Honour Committee of Immagine & Poesia, the artistic literary movement founded in Turin, Italy, with the patronage of Aeronwy Thomas (Dylan Thomas's daughter).

Turco also published work under the pseudonym Wesli Court, which is an anagram of his name.

Recent work

Recent books are Satan's Scourge, a Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England 1580-1697; La Famiglia / the Family, Memoirs, and a free on-line e-chapbook of poems titled Attic, Shed, and Barn, all published in 2009. In the same year he started a new venture to collect more forms at a blog called The Book of Odd and Invented Forms.

Awards and honors



  1. ^ Turco, L. A Sheaf of Leaves: Literary Memoirs, Star Cloud Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9651835-6-4
  2. ^ Turco, L. A Sheaf of Leaves: Literary Memoirs, Star Cloud Press, 2005. ISBN 0-9651835-6-4


  1. Lewis Turco, The Per Contra Interview by Miriam N. Kotzin. Per Contra, Summer 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2011.

External links

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