Mary Catherine Harper receives Midwestern poetry prize

January 14, 2019

DEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance College Professor of English Dr. Mary Catherine Harper has received the 2018 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. Her poem, “Imagining Life as a Graffiti Artist,” was chosen in a blind review. This is the second year that she has won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, having done so in 2013.

The prize was endowed by Gwendolyn Brooks herself, a Chicago poet born in Kansas (also Harper’s home state).

Dr. Harper writes poetry and teaches literature and writing at Defiance College. She co-organizes the yearly SwampFire Retreat for artists and writers at 4 Corners Gallery in Angola, Ind.

Dr. Agnes Caldwell, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, said, “For Dr. Harper to win this award twice in less than five years is a testament to her poetry talents.  I think this is a wonderful affirmation of Dr. Harper's work as she retires next year. She will truly be missed at Defiance College.”

Dr. Harper’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including The Comstock Review, Cold Mountain Review, Pudding Magazine, Old Northwest Review, SLAB, MidAmerica, Print-Oriented Bastards, Sheila-Na-Gig, and The Offbeat. Her Some Gods Don’t Need Saints chapbook was recently published. See or

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The College website is