Assistant Professor of English Julia Suarez Hayes ’72

Hartwick Poet Suarez To Be Published in ‘New York Times Magazine’

January 30, 2017

Hartwick College Assistant Professor of English Julia Suarez Hayes ’72 will have a poem published in the February 5 issue of the New York Times Magazine. Her work, “There Was a Great Want of Civility,” will run on the Poetry Page.

The poem was first published last fall in the anthology The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, edited by Helen Klein Ross (Red Hen Press).

The original Traveler’s Vade Mecum, published in 1853, contained thousands of numbered pre-written telegrams designed to be sent as short, affordable messages while in transit.

Ross dusted off the original idea, and added a twist. She chose an assortment of the telegrams, then assigned one to selected poets who were each given a number, then asked to write a poem inspired by the corresponding telegram.

The telegram Suarez received: “There was a great want of civility.”

She decided to create a short poem about three big trees bordering her property that keep her up at night.

“The trees seemed ominous at times,” she said in describing the work. “What are they talking about, I wonder? That cause is not made apparent in the poem.”

Ross met New York Times Magazine Poetry Editor Matthew Zapruder at a literary event in San Francisco last fall, and provided him a copy of Suarez’ poem.

“The next thing I know, I get an e-mail. Out of the blue,” Suarez said. “It’s The New York Times Magazine. They liked the poem and wanted to include it!”

Suarez is a little daunted by the prospects of such high-profile exposure, especially one she never proactively pursued.

“[But] This makes me feel not so alone – you tend to create poetry in isolation,” Suarez says of the New York Times Magazine opportunity. “So this is very gratifying. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time.”

Suarez credits the opportunities afforded her at Hartwick College, where she also serves as the Writing Center Coordinator, as a major influence on her work. She also cites her regular attendance at the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College, with assistance from a Hartwick stipend.

Next, the former John Christopher Hartwick Scholar will have another poem, “Singleton,” published in a new journal highlighting Mexican, Canadian, and American poets, called La Presa. Hers will be the very first poem included in the inaugural issue, and another poem, “Seasons,” will be featured in the second.

The New York Times Magazine section can be found at www.nytimes.com/section/magazine.