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Lunch done “write:” English professor publishes book

Matt Babcock, a professor of English at BYU-Idaho, will be doing a poetry reading on May 3, at 7:00 p.m. in the Joseph Fielding Smith Building 240, for his new book, Points of Reference.

“Poetry readings are a funky adventure,” Babcock said.

Babcock said he is giving his students a glimpse into his life by becoming a published author of a fictitious “chapbook” — a short book of stories or, in this case, poems, that go through a long and hard editorial process before being printed.

“I wrote all these over twenty years’ worth of lunch breaks,” Babcock said.

Babcock said in addition to lunch breaks, he wrote poems between earning three academic degrees, 23 years of marriage, living in three different states and raising five kids as well as a pug named Bobo.

Babcock said along with the road trip theme, the cover of the book, drawn by local watercolorist and retired BYU-Idaho English professor, Scott Samuelson, captures the beauty and majesty of their very own backyards.

“It’s a really exciting collaborate project focusing on images and poems inspired by local landscapes,” Babcock said.

Babcock said Points of Reference will be his first creative publication; however, a short book of fiction will be published later this year by Queen’s Ferry Press and will include a short novella, He Wanted to be a Cartoonist for The New Yorker, that won the 2010 Novella Award from Press 53.

Press 53 publishes an award-winning anthology, a collection of short works, every year from thousands of entries of unpublished works that are submitted to them and then judged and included in their publication. This particular novella won the award and will be published in Brother Babcock’s own short book of fiction this fall, he said.

“Witty, acerbic, inventive, funny, clever — and surprising,” said Press 53 judge Amy Rogers, according to the Press 53 Open Awards Web Page. “What’s more, it’s solidly readable, wonderfully detailed and it crackles with vigor.”

Babcock said his next endeavor is a book that will be published this year or next year.

“A creative nonfiction, a book of essays called Boogaloo Too, about early memories and experiences with high school wrestling and breakdancing and scabies infestations in third grade,” Babcock said.

Annie Brown, a freshman studying Piano Performance, said the idea was charming.

“It’s so sweet that a professor who is obviously busy takes time to write,” Brown said.

She said that students should read the book.

Babcock said the writing process was long, slow and difficult but that it was worth the struggle.

“Students, keep writing,” Babcock said,”You can publish a book if you persist.”

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