Jon Tribble, an award-winning poet, writer, teacher, and editor, died October 2, 2019 in Carbondale, Illinois. The editors wish to dedicate Issue 48 of storySouth to his memory.
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1962, Jon Tribble was a graduate of Little Rock’s Parkview High School, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Indiana University Bloomington, where he earned an MA in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing, studying with such literary luminaries as poets Yusef Komunyakaa, Maura Stanton, Richard Cecil, and David Wojahn. In Bloomington, he met and married his wife, poet and writer Allison Joseph, forming a literary partnership that would last for over thirty years.
Hired at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 1994, Joseph and Tribble helped to found the influential literary magazine Crab Orchard Review, a journal that publishes emerging and established writers from around the world. Tribble served as managing editor for the journal’s entire existence, and also is the founding editor of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, a book series that numbers over 80 volumes of poems. He also taught classes in literature, creative writing, and literary publishing in the Department of English, bringing his real-life publishing expertise to countless generations of students. Though Joseph and Tribble had no children, they both mentored and supported generations of poets and writers in their roles as teachers and editors.
Tribble was a prolific and brilliant poet in his own right, and authored several poetry collections: Natural State (Glass Lyre Press), a meditation on his childhood in his home state of Arkansas, and And There Is Many a Good Thing (Salmon Publishing), a book of poems that took Tribble to locales as varied as Egypt, South Texas, Queens, New York, Indiana, and Illinois. His third book, God of the Kitchen (Glass Lyre Press), explored Tribble’s adolescent job as a fast food worker at Kentucky Fried Chicken, an unlikely subject for poems, but one Tribble handled with skill and sensitivity. A fourth collection is forthcoming from Salmon Publishing.
Tribble’s individual poems appeared in countless magazines and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, the Jazz Poetry Anthology, and Where We Live: Illinois Poets. His many awards include the Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize, the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize from Sarah Lawrence College, and scholarships and fellowships from the prestigious Sewanee Writers Conference and the Illinois Arts Council.
An Interview with Jon Tribble by Jessica Plante
The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition accepts one-poem submissions and honors poet poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. He was a 1996 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame who left behind nine books of poetry, four books of literary criticism, four children’s books, five anthologies, a bestselling academic novel, a translation of Goethe’s Faust, Part I, and a translation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, produced on Broadway by The Actors’ Studio.
Honorable Mention: But First, We Must Eat the Skies, by Michael Boccardo
Honorable Mention: On Finding Monarch Caterpillars in September by Kathryn Kirkpatrick
Honorable Mention: Atlanta Braves by Sandra Ann Winters