POET LOCALLY INSPIRED
Editor’s Note: The following is the first of a two-part series on the poetry of Columbia City native Bruce Snider.COLUMBIA CITY — Bruce Snider, a Columbia City Joint High School grad from the class of ’89 who currently teaches creative writing at Stanford University, has a new book of published poems called “Paradise, Indiana.” While he no longer lives in Columbia City, Snider said he is thankful to the many teachers who encouraged him to grow in creativity and influence his writing.“I first wrote poetry in high school, and I feel lucky to have had some amazing writing teachers when I was at Columbia City High School, especially Bob Brittain and Laurel Steill,” said Snider. “Before that, I was lucky to work with Frances Stuckey and Pat Janney, both amazing teachers, at Thorncreek Elementary and Middle School.”Snider grew up on Big Cedar Lake at Tri-Lakes, and lived there until he went to college at Indiana University in 1989. Unlike his brothers, who were serious hunters and fisherman, Snider admits he was a bookish kid, who spent his time inside reading rather than in the woods.“I’m really grateful for growing up where I did,” said Snider. “Ironically, now that I no longer live there, I spend much of my time remembering, imagining and missing Indiana.”Snider earned his MFA in creative writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.“I’ve taught creative writing at a number of universities, including Stanford, where I currently teach, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of San Francisco, Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. and Connecticut College,” said Snider.Snider’s first book of poems, “The Year We Studied Women,” was published in 2003, winning the Felix Pollack Poetry Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. He described this book of poems as an experimentation where he was trying on a lot of different hats, discovering writing techniques. His second book of poems, “Paradise, Indiana,” recently published this year, makes Indiana the center of his creative work as an adult.“Paradise, Indiana is more mature and focused both stylistically and in terms of subject matter,” said Snider.