Campus Life

English Department Faculty Member wins a 2007 John Burroughs Award

Utah State University English department faculty member Christopher Cokinos has won the 2007 John Burroughs Award for an Outstanding Published Nature Essay for his piece “The Consolations of Extinction.”

Cokinos is assistant professor of English and adjunct assistant professor of environment and society at USU, where he also edits Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Science, Birder’s World, Poetry, Iowa Review, Shenandoah, Orion, Turnrow and Ecotone. He had received both a Whiting Award and the Glasgow Prize for an Emerging Writer for his work “Hope is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds.”
The award’s namesake, John Burroughs, was a distinguished naturalist and superb essayist whose 23 volumes of essays are an important part of American literature. The John Burroughs Association encourages writing in the Burroughs tradition. The award recognizes an outstanding periodical essay of the type that Burroughs would have written and made famous.
“Cokinos has given personal involvement in an integration of scientific positions in a humanistic essay with mediations on what the past and present world gives us,” the association said. “The essay relies on good ‘research’ and is not just a documentary. He relates how we, in today’s world, can live productively, fully cognizant of our own mortality — as individuals and as a species. Cokinos’ comments as to how he lives life are refreshingly insightful, thought provoking and potentially helpful to readers. His work is literary and poetic in the genre of the nature essay; writing that John Burroughs perfected.”
Cokinos will receive the award during a luncheon April 7 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
“Chris Cokinos is one of the most interesting and exciting young writers of creative nonfiction in the nation,” said USU English department head Jeffrey Smitten. “The range, versatility and poignancy of his writing are extraordinary; and his receipt of the Burroughs Award is a wonderful acknowledgment of his talent.”
For more information about the award, contact Lisa Breslof at (212) 769-5169, or go to the John Burroughs Web site (
For more information about Cokinos or the department of English at USU, contact Marina Hall at (435) 797-3858.
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Writer: Ryan Hall,

USU English faculty member Christopher Cokinos

USU faculty member Christopher Cokinos is a recipient of the 2007 John Burroughs Award for an Outstanding Published Nature Essay for his piece "The Consolations of Extinction."


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