-Chicago Daily News



Philip Dacey is the author of thirteen full-length books of poems, mosty recently Church of the Adagio (Rain Mountain Press), as well as numerous chapbooks (see Publications). Two books of his poems appeared in 1999, The Deathbed Playboy (East. Wash. U. Press) and The Paramour of the Moving Air (Quarterly Rev. of Lit.). Previous books of poetry include The Boy Under the Bed (Johns Hopkins, 1981), How I Escaped From the Labyrinth and Other Poems (Carnegie-Mellon, 1977), and Night Shift at the Crucifix Factory (Iowa , 1991).  He has also published books of poems about the painter Thomas Eakins (2004) and the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1982).

His awards include three Pushcart Prizes, a Discovery Award from the New York YM-YWHA's Poetry Center, many fellowships (Fulbright to Yugoslavia, Woodrow Wilson to Stanford, National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board, Bush Foundation, Loft-McKnight), and prizes for individual poems from The Ledge, Yankee, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Kansas Quarterly, Atlanta Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, Nebraska Review, Poet & Critic, Flyway, and Free Lunch.  Co-editor with David Jauss of Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms (Harper & Row, 1986), he has presented his  poetry--which appears in over one hundred anthologies--in more than half of the fifty states and served as Distinguished Poet in Residence, Wichita State U. (1985); Distinguished Visiting Writer, U. of Idaho (1999); and Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer, Minnesota State U. at Mankato (2003). A native of St. Louis , Missouri , a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Sixties, and the father of three grown children, he  moved  to Manhattan's Upper West Side  in  2004, for a post-retirement adventure, and, having accomplished his various goals in New York City,  returned to Minnesota  in 2012,  when he took up residence with Alixa Doom in Minneapolis.

Born 1939, St. Louis, Missouri. Educated by Incarnate Word nuns and Jesuit priests for sixteen years. Degrees from St. Louis U. (B. S.), Stanford (M. A.) and the University of Iowa (M. F. A.). Teaching experience includes Eastern Nigeria (as a Peace Corps Volunteer, 1963-65), Miles College (Birmingham, Alabama ), and the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Non-literary travels include five trips to Europe (with residence in Spain for six months and three visits to Ireland), and Vietnam by train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.

Dacey's writing has inspired numerous musical, theatrical, and mutlimedia works. "Rondel" was chosen by Seattle artist Linda Beaumont to be part of her marble donor recognition pillar in Baley-Boushay House, AIDS Housing of Washington's model hospice (opened 1991). Poems set to music include "The Birthday," arranged by David Sampson for soprano, harp, oboe, and cello and performed at the Carnegie-Mellon Institute, Spring, 1982;  "The Musician,"  arranged by Elizabeth Alexander for the American Master Chorale and performed at First Congregational Church, Madison, Wisconsin, November, 1994, with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and subsequently elsewhere, including Toronto; "Ear Abounding," arranged by Robert Whitcomb, performed by Southwest Minnesota Orchestra and Chorus, May 3, 2003, Marshall. "Gerard Manley Hopkins Meets Walt Whitman in Heaven" is the subject of a wood engraving by Letterio Calapai. In 1991 Dacey formed with his sons Strong Measures, a successful performance trio that united his poetry and their music. In 1996 he played Walt Whitman in a performance of "Nurses and War," with Beth Weatherby as Florence Nightingale.

Editor, "The Great American Poem," a 100-line poem written by 100 prominent contemporary American poets over the course of several years (compiled in the mail) and published in Antaeus (Winter, 1979). Editor, Crazy Horse, 1971-76.

At Southwest State Minnesota University , he was founder and director of The Marshall Festivals (1986, 1989) and Minnesota Writers' Festival, and the International Film Series, 1981-82.

Readings in more than half of the states in the U. S. and in three other countries, including Hofstra U., Hempstead, NY; St. Mark's Poetry Project, NYC; P. E. N. Center, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mex.; Conference on the Centenary of Hopkins' Arrival in Dublin, U. Coll., Dubl.; Serbian Writers' Union, Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Hopkins Lives: Exhibition, U. of Texas, Austin; Penn. State U./Wilkes-Barre; U. of California at Santa Barbara; Willamette U., Salem, Oregon; Washington & Lee U., Lexington, Va.; Get Lit: 2nd Annual Inland Northwest Literary Arts Festival, Spokane; The Johns Hopkins U. Press, Baltimore; Poetry Soc. of Amer. Midwest Regional Meeting, Fontbonne Coll., St. Louis, Mo.; Carleton, Gustavus Adolphus, and St. Olaf Colleges (Minnesota); and many more.



Distinguished Visiting Writer, University of Idaho , 1999;
Distinguished Poet in Residence, Wichita State University , 1985.
Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer, Minnsota State University-Mankato,



Fulbright Lectureship in Creative Writing to Yugoslavia, 1988
Bush Foundation Fellowship for Artists, 1977
National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, 1975, 1980
Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, 1975, 1983
Loft-McKnight Fellowship, 1984
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 1961-62, Stanford


Prizes for individual poems

First Prize, 2009 The Ledge Magazine Poetry Competition, $1000, for "The Spiel."

Second Prize,  2003 Robert Penn Warren Poetry Contest, Cumberland Poetry Review, Judge: Helen Vendler, for "Llama Days"

International Merit Award for "From the Front" in Atlanta Review's 2003 International Poetry Competition

1997 Flyway Literary Award for Poetry (Iowa State U., Ames ) for "Giving Away Books: A Rhapsody"

Rosine Offen Memorial Award (2001) from Free Lunch for "Butterly: Upon Mistyping 'Butterfly'"

Carolyn Kizer Prize 1991 from Poetry Northwest (Autumn 1990) for "Four Men in a Car" and "Chiaroscuro"

1989/90 Nebraska Review Poetry Award for "Strip Pachelbel"

Pushcart Prizes, 1977 for "The Sleep," 1982 for "The Last Straw", 2001 for "Recorded Message"

Pushcart Special Mentions, 1988 for "Libyan Pantoum," 1990 for "Thomas Eakins: The Secret Whitman Sitting"

Prairie Schooner, First Prize in Poetry, Vol. 50, 1977 for "The Sleep" and "Jack, Afterwards"

First Prize, Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards, 1974 for "The Birthday"

Poet and Critic, Prize Poem, Spring, 1969 for "For the Poet's Father, on His Taking Up Gardening Late in Life"

Yankee Poetry Awards, First Prize, 1968, for "Storm"

Kansas Quarterly, First Award in Poetry, 1980 for "Essays in Criticism: From the Lost Journal of Gerard Manley Hopkins"

First Prize, Gerard Manley Hopkins Memorial Sonnet Competition, 1977 for " Hopkins Under Ether"

Commendation from National Poetry Competition 1995 (The Chester H. Jones Foundation) for "On Learning That Dylan Thomas and William Stafford Were Born in the Same Year."


1990 Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Award of the University of Iowa Press for manuscript of Night
Shift at the Crucifix Factory                                 

$1000 Turning Point Prize from WordTech Communications ( Cincinnati , Ohio ) for The Mystery of Max Schmitt: Poems on the Life and Work of Thomas Eakins

1974 Discovery Award, sponsored by the New York YM-YWHA's Poetry Center

Nomination as one of five finalists, 2000 Minnesota Book Awards in Poetry, The Deathbed Playboy

Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council/McKnight Foundation Rural Established Artist's Grant, 1992

Peace Corps Writers Poetry Award 2000 for The Deathbed Playboy (award given to a returned Peace Corps Volunteer)

Gerard Manley Hopkins Meets Walt Whitman in Heaven and Other Poems considered among "significant books" published about Hopkins between 1944 and 1988 by Richard F. Giles, Founder, International Hopkins Association, Editor, The Hopkins Quarterly; workbooks for same book included in Hopkins collection of Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. 

Subject of MFA thesis by Orval A. Lund, Jr., Vermont College (Advisor: Jack Myers), 1986. Philip Dacey: A Study and an Interview.

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