Born in Utah to an Argentinian immigrant mother and American father, author Mario Chard offers a unique and fascinating perspective on a variety of things. This becomes clear as you leaf through passages of his poetry, each more gritty and moving than the last. Land of Fire, his greatest work, has won a variety of notable accolades, from Tupelo Press’s 2016 Dorset Prize to Boston Review’s Discovery Poetry Award. The University of Tampa had the honor to host Chard recently, and students enjoyed a poetry reading and presentation from the author himself. The various Honors Symposia give students the opportunity to remain on the cutting edge of notable authors and scholars alike, many of them among the greats just as Mario Chard is.
“Fearless” is a word that comes to mind for many when discussing the style in which UT Professor Dr. Erica Dawson writes. She is forward and unabashed, and that translated into When Rap Spoke Straight to God, her newest book of poetry. Dr. Dawson took the time to share her perspective and passion with Honors students in a recent symposium, in which she read excerpts from her novel and elaborated on her motivations to create it. When Rap Spoke Straight to God covers everything from the impact of the Trump administration to her experiences as a black women. Dr. Dawson walks a line between eloquence and conflict, to draw the attention of readers and listeners. Professors like Dr. Dawson inspire UT students to create art out of experience in a profound way.