Christine Swanberg wins Mayor’s Arts Award for Community Impact
By Susan Johnson
Christine Swanberg, longtime Rockford poet and writing mentor, received the Lawrence E. Gloyd Award for Community Impact at the Mayor’s Arts/State of the Arts Award luncheon held Oct. 3 at Cliffbreakers. The annual State of the Arts event is sponsored by the Rockford Area Arts Council and the Rockford City Council.
“The reason I got it for Community Impact was for 30 years behind-the-scenes with various community organizations,” said Swanberg. “Many letters of support came from Womanspace and Severson Dells because we had put together a collection of northern Illinois writers.
Swanberg is used to organizing various writing projects. “For about 20 years, I have done regular workshops at Womanspace and also served on the editorial board for 10 issues of Korone and, most recently, Red Silk (all anthologies), she said. I worked with the Friends of the Rockford Public Library and the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and Rockford Area Arts Council to create Confluence, which celebrated the writers of the area in a coffee-table book that we put out in 2000.”
To win the award, she needed to submit letters of reference. “I also got letters of support from two people in the poetry salon that I hold in my house: Valerie Jewell and Cleo Johnson,” she said. “I got letters of support from Jane’s Stories Foundation, which is a national organization. My involvement with them has been as an editor and contest judge. This is the fourth one they have had. It resulted in a book called Jane’s Stories IV.
“David Gecic is my newest publisher, from Puddin’head Press. He brought out my newest book, The Alleluia Tree, which mentions Frank [Schier], and he is thanked in that book for his support. He is the one who got me started back in the 1980s with the Writers’ Theatre. He actually knocked on my door and said, ‘Where’s the poetry around here?’ The other thing [I do] is teaching and mentoring writers, [which was] one of the main criteria for this award.”
She noted that a few other factors went into the selection of award winners. “They also looked at the breadth and depth and artistic merit of work that I produced myself. What would be included is that I have had several hundred poems published in recognized national magazines and several books of poetry published over a 30-year period – different presses – university presses and small publishers.”
Swanberg is the author of nine books and has had more than 300 poems published in various books and journals. She appears in a range of poetry anthologies and is also a columnist for this paper.
From the Nov. 14-20, 2012, issue
Print This Article