Browse Exhibits (4 total)

The Inspiration Behind the Pulitzer Prize Poet

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     In an NPR interview entitled, "Being A 'Hot Poet' And A 'Hot Basketball Player," Stephen Dunn once stated, "What basketball and poetry have in common, is that they each provide opportunities to be better than yourself — opportunities for transcendence."  

     This first exhibit includes a biography of Stephen Dunn, as well as photographs, interviews, and other personal items that illustrate the inspiration behind his poems.


This black and white video from the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives is of Stephen Dunn speaking at the "Friends of Scranton Public Library Poetry Series" long before he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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Different Hours and Winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry


     Stephen Dunn won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2001 for his collection Different Hours. When explaining this collection of poems to Elizabeth Farnsworth of PBS, Dunn stated: 

Well, the book was composed in the years… the three or four years before I reached 60, and I guess I was sometimes consciously, probably more unconsciously aware that I was nearing the age that nobody in my family… no male in my family had ever reached. And I think that notion, that consciousness, colored a lot of the poems. I think because my parents died in their early 50s, mid 50s, I always thought I would die young. And that’s been both a useful thing and I suspect something that’s haunted me a little bit.

When I wrote the poem “Different Hours,” it seemed to collect a lot of poems around it. I think most poets work disparately unless you’re working on a sequence of some kind. And so I had many different poems. And then I wrote the title poem, and it seemed to make sense of a lot of other poems around it. And essentially, to be reductive, it started to take on the different hours of not only my life, but I hope that my life resonating into the life of others in this particular time, this juncture in history.

     This explanation highlights the very personal purpose of Different Hours.  Publisher's Weekly referred to Different Hours as Dunn's "sensitive 11th book that largely sticks to familiar territory: his short lyrics in conversational language address the difficulties and small victories of everyday life."  Dunn's experience, writing style, and work ethic are what led him to the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. 

     This exhibit showcases 3 poems in Different Hours as they are edited and revised in the drafting process.  

     Also included in this exhibit is history on the Pulitzer Prize.  Specific information about Stephen Dunn's Pulitzer Prize, such as the announcement, congratulatory letters, and reading appearances, can also be found in this exhibit.


Stephen Dunn reading “At the Smithville Methodist Church” as an overlay to the exhibition, Poems: A Retrospective. This exhibition at Stockton College was a manuscript exhibit on the Stephen Dunn's revision process, curated by Dr. Lisa Honaker.

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Reviews and Reactions

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     Regarding Dunn, Sir Isaac Newton's famous saying, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," is almost right.  The action of Dunn winning the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry actually caused a larger than life reaction.  

     This exhibit includes reactions to Dunn's Pulitzer Prize win, including interviews with Stephen Dunn and reviews of Stephen Dunn's Different Hours before and after it won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.


Stephen Dunn reflecting on his "retrospective of revisions and reviews," his reaction to winning the Pulitzer Prize, and his tenure as a Professor at Stockton College.

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Resources and About the Creators

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     This exhibit includes all of the resources used within the entire site, as well as extra resouces for those viewers looking for more information about Stephen Dunn.  

     Information about the creators of this site is also included in this exhibit.

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