The Norman Transcript

Local news

June 3, 2009

Poet receives Creativity in Motion pPrize for opera

Poet David Mason, a professor of English at Colorado College, recently was named the 2009 Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize recipient.

The $40,000 will allow Mason to focus more time on creating the libretto for the opera adaptation of his verse novel "Ludlow."

The Creativity in Motion prize is a biennial prize honoring the creative process given by the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences.

Mason previously teamed with composer Lori Laitman for the 2008 opera "Scarlet Letter," her first full-length opera. This will be their second project together.

Opera is a new addition to Mason's career as a poet. With nine books written and edited, and poems published in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New Republic, The Nation, etc., Mason was inspired to adapt Ludlow after his experience with the libretto for Laitman's "Scarlet Letter."

"Ludlow" tells the story of a handful of immigrants -- Greek, Italian, Scottish, Mexican -- caught up in a labor struggle in southern Colorado, culminating in the Ludlow Massacre of April 1914.

"For years, I have been wishing to enlarge what poets could do by creating bigger dramas than are usually found in our poetry," Mason said. "Opera may be the perfect arena in which to accomplish this task."

Mason will be honored at an event to be held in September.

The Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize, established in 2002, celebrates a visionary creative work in process and is open to all fields of creativity, including, but not limited to, the arts, cultural affairs, education and science. The $40,000 award is available to U.S. citizens and can be used in any way the recipient chooses.

This year's submissions included more than 300 applicants from disciplines as diverse as archaeology, sculpture, community outreach programs and operas. Past recipients include Elizabeth Ingraham, artist; Steven C. Levi, educator; and Phil Solomon, avant-garde filmmaker.

For more information, visit the Web site at cim.ou.edu.

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