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Highland's Kent Johnson recognized in Times Literary Supplement
12/7/2011

FREEPORT � Highland Community College English and Spanish instructor Dr. Kent Johnson�s work �Question Mark Above the Sun� has received distinction as one of the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) �Books of the Year.� The TLS, a weekly originating in early-twentieth century London as a companion to The Times, is the world�s foremost publication on international culture and literary criticism.

TLS reviewer and poetry critic Dr. Jeremy Noel-Tod described the 2010 Punch Press edition as �an extraordinary work of detective criticism� in which Johnson �movingly speculates that Kenneth Koch forged one of Frank O�Hara�s greatest poems as a posthumous tribute to his friend.�

Dr. Kent Johnson

According to Johnson, the book is a dual work of literary criticism and fiction centering on the controversial hypothesis. Through literary criticism and fictional chapters, Johnson explores the idea that Koch secretly wrote the poem after O�Hara�s accidental death in 1966, and then claimed to have found it stashed in O'Hara's papers. A second edition of the book is scheduled for publication next fall by Starcherone Books, Inc., a publisher of unique prose fiction and advocate for independent, small presses.

During his two decades at Highland teaching English and Spanish, Johnson has been recognized by the PEN Literary Awards and has been named �State Teacher of the Year� by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. He is also the recipient of a Pushcart Book of the Month Award, an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Award, an NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Lalicorne Residency in Montevideo.

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