Steve Petkus | Our 2023-2024 Umpleby-Leggett Scholar Lecturer
Steve Petkus, D-E’s Middle & Upper School Librarian, was chosen as this year’s featured Leggett Umpleby 2023 Lecture speaker. The annual event, held this year on November 28 in Hajjar Auditorium, offers an opportunity to our D-E community to hear from faculty and staff on unique topics or ‘passionate pursuits’ beyond their typical academic subject areas.
Steve’s lecture did not disappoint as he provided often humorous, fully candid and ultimately inspiring remarks that spoke to his iterative and often ‘exhaustive’ and ‘meticulous’ process of writing poetry. At times noting how he has edited his own work, over not just years but decades, Steve drew more than a few chuckles from an appreciative audience made up of fellow D-E faculty and staff, students, and their families.
Steve is in his 21st year on the faculty of D-E. He spent his first seven years teaching Upper School English and creative writing, and has served as Middle & Upper School Librarian since 2010. He also has been the advisor for Calliope, D-E’s nationally-recognized student arts-literary magazine, for the last 19 years, and has served as D-E’s School Coordinator for the Dodge Poetry Festival’s High School Student Day across that same span.
Steve’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 15 literary journals, among them, most recently, Artful Dodge, I-70 Review, Naugatuck River Review, Puerto del Sol, and Tar River Poetry. His work has been named a finalist for the Bill Hickok Humor Award for Poetry and the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize (for individual poems) and a semi-finalist for the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry (full-length collection).
Steve holds degrees in English from Duke University (BA) and the University of Iowa (MA), along with an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Michigan, where he received the Meader Family Award from the Hopwood Committee in 1996.