Keiser University New Port Richey professor wins 2022 Gold Medal in Poetry Award
Keiser University New Port Richey professor Dr. Kate Sweeney is recognized for her work in poetry by the Florida Book Awards. The English instructor and Writing Studio Coordinator won the 2022 Gold Medal in Poetry award for her published book, Worrisome Creatures.
Published in the spring of 2021, Dr. Sweeney describes the book as a collection of a decade’s worth of poems, all falling under the connecting theme of “worrisome creatures.” Inspired by the wild and untamed nature of the Florida ecosystem, she explores the multi-generational experience between her family members and the many things we can learn from one another.
“[The book] encompasses literal creatures, but also human creatures and different worrisome interactions within family dimensions,” Sweeney said. “There is a section just of our relationship, and difficulties of that relationship. There are worrisome creatures that are ideas, and also other humans, not just the animal type.”
The Florida Book Awards was established in 2006. The organization recognizes and celebrates authors across the state who were published the year before. Winning books will then be on permanent display at the Governor’s Mansion, as well as in an exhibit case at Florida State University’s Strozier Library.
Worrisome Creatures was a bucket-list goal, Dr. Sweeney says, but she hopes her published book can inspire her students at Keiser University to continue their own writing and reach their goals along the way.
“When students learn that I write poetry and write creatively, they come to me sometimes with just their own writing. It’s nice to know that they’re interested and they’ve got someone to share it with,” Sweeney said. “I try to connect students with publications that might just publish a poem or two, particularly for first time writers or undergraduate students. You work so hard on writing, and to be able to share it with the world and anybody who will read it, it just makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.”
Medalists will be presented with their awards at a banquet in Tallahassee in April during National Poetry Month.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associate to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in providing Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Report in 2023.
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