Professor Publishes Award-Winning Book of Poetry

Dr. Melanie Almeder shares her work with the world

Dr. Melanie Almeder, associate professor of English at Roanoke College, has published a new book of poetry, On Dream Street (Tupelo Press), which has been recognized with the Tupelo Press Editors' Prize.

On Dream Street has been described by the publisher as "flawless poetry from a fearless poet with perfect pitch." Almeder's poems span myriad locales and themes without ever losing sight of the author's goal: to enlighten and amuse. She is graceful and musical as she spins an "Ode to Peterson's Guide to Birds" and yet profoundly articulate as she intuits language from the paintings of Chagall-this, in a thoughtful and distinctive series of poems concerning eminent works of painting and photography.

Contemporary philosophy, autobiography and the landscapes of Florida and Maine are all rendered between these pages, but there is an underlying unity and wisdom to her vision that will manipulate, surprise and edify her readers as they are led into her lyrically rich yet subtly nuanced landscapes. A singular debut from a compellingly inventive new voice that cannot, and will not, be ignored.

On Dream Street was a finalist in a number of presses' first book awards and was in the final 25 books considered for the Walt Whitman award. Individual poems from the book have received a number of awards, including an award from The Comstock Review. Universities' West Press recognized a poem with the Emily Dickinson Award and the Paris Writers Workshop gave Almeder the Patricia Painton Memorial Fellowship for a group of poems.

Almeder's poems have been widely published in a range of journals, including The Georgia Review, Poetry, Five Points, Seneca Review, The Comstock Review and American Literary Review. She has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Almeder was recognized with the Roanoke College Dean's Council Exemplary Teaching Award in 2003. She also has been three times honored as a finalist in the rising star category of the Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

Almeder was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and southern Maine. She received her BA in English from the University of Virginia, MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts and PhD in contemporary fiction from the University of Florida.

On Dream Street is available from the Roanoke College Bookstore by calling (540) 375-2317, and it can be ordered online from

Quotes from other contemporary writers

"In these magnificent poems, it's as if Emily Dickinson's compression and intelligence were stretched out over a longer, sinuous line that wraps around itself and searches out significance in observations rendered so intense they transform into vision." - Gregory Orr

"Like an acrobat fearlessly singing an aria, Melanie Almeder makes a rare debut with her first collection of poems, On Dream Street. Here she croons her irrepressible music, luring the lyric poem back to its sources in canticle and nocturne. Almeder strikes a balance of exquisite contradictions, making her lines at once sinewy, but sharp, whimsical, but elegiac. Brava for this poet's luscious voice - she seems to seize every word in the ecstasy of its bloom." - Molly Peacock

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