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Instructor Rob Ostrom Publishes New Poetry Collection

Robert Ostrom, whose poems have been praised by distinguished poet Lucie Brock-Broido as “sorcery” and “some of the most gifted I've ever read,” has published a new collection, The Youngest Butcher in Illinois (YesYes Books, 2012).

Ostrom, who teaches developmental writing and composition at City Tech and poetry at Columbia University, says, “Many of the poems in the manuscript deal with family; two sections are made up of a long poem, ‘Two Show the Living,’ which is in large part an elegy for my grandmother.” 

Among the mysteriously titled pieces in the 76-page volume are “Provide a picture of your habitat,” “It is Not What I Have but I Bring it,” and “Define properties (invisible),” all of which appear on the publisher’s website, http://yesyesbooks.com/store/book/0000013/.

His prior publications include two chapbooks, To Show the Living, winner of the 2008 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition, and Nether and Qualms (Projective Industries, March 2012). Previously, during his graduate education at Columbia University, he was awarded theAcademy of American Poets Prize.

“One thing about finally publishing my first book,” says Ostrom, “is that now I can write new poems without thinking that they need to work in the context of the older stuff. I’m currently writing poems that I hope will grow into a second collection.” The publication of his long poem, A Happy Idea, is forthcoming from YesYes Books.

Ostrom’s work has appeared in New Voices from the Academy of American Poets, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Gulf Coast, Cut Bank, Drunken Boat, Western Humanities Review, and other literary publications. His work also was featured in a podcast, available through Stitcher Smart Radio or iTunes, on the InDigest website. He has read his poems at such New York metro area venues as The Poetry Project and Columbia University, and plans to participate in a West Coast tour with other YesYes writers.

About his work at City Tech, where Ostrom has taught since 2005, he says, “I feel a little spoiled to be able to count myself among those who like their jobs, but I truly love working with City Tech students. The population here is diverse in every possible way, and many of my students have overcome and are overcoming considerable obstacles. I have a deep respect for them and I find their intensity and enthusiasm both inspirational and contagious.”

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