The David Middleton Poetry Prize is awarded to the writer of the most outstanding poem submitted to Mosaic in a publication year. The Prize honors long-time English professor, Poet-in-Residence, and Mosaic Advisor, Dr. David Middleton.
Dr. Middleton arrived at Nicholls in 1977. Soon thereafter, the young instructor of English became principal faculty advisor to Mosaic, a position he held for the next 11 years. During that time, he was instrumental in resurrecting the student literary magazine after over a decade of dormancy and setting it firmly on a path of sustainability, which, with this volume, it has enjoyed now for 37 years. During his service as the magazine’s advisor, as well as advisor to the English Society and Head of the Department of Languages and Literature, Dr. Middleton remained Mosaic’s strongest supporter, making it the second longest-running student literary magazine among Louisiana colleges and universities.
As a poet, Dr. Middleton is not only a consummate craftsman but also a selfless one. He has delivered readings across the country, and his poetry has published and anthologized worldwide. He is author of ten collections, including four titles published by LSU Press, the latest entitled The Fiddler of Driskill Hill: Poems of Louisiana North and South. On behalf of other poets, he has written many reviews, organized collaborative readings and collections, and has served as poetry editor for multiple journals. Most importantly, he has taught the experience of his high art to countless students in both classroom courses and independent study here at Nicholls, many of whom become poets in their own right.
A tireless advocate of the art, Dr. Middleton has made Nicholls a nationally recognized home of poetic outreach. Most notably, as Chairman of the Fletcher Lecture Series from 1994 to 2003, Dr. Middleton was responsible for bringing to Nicholls several renowned American poets to read to students, faculty, and the community. These poets included Lewis P. Simpson, Donald E. Stanford, Edgar Bowers, X.J. Kennedy, Fred Chappell, Timothy Steele, and the first U.S. Poet Laureate—Robert Penn Warren.
Thirty-seven years after arriving, Dr. Middleton is now Professor and Poet-in-Residence Emeritus at Nicholls. He can still be found in Peltier Hall, not too far from his first office, working on essays, reviews, editing, and, of course, his poetry. With the David Middleton Poetry Prize, Mosaic is proud to honor the legacy of its champion with an enduring reward to the next generation of outstanding student poets for whom on this campus he paved a clear and true path.