The Small Town of Freeport Produces The Most Promising Young Writers In The United States

HCC faculty member and Freeport native published in Library of America anthology

FREEPORT — Kent Johnson, English and Spanish instructor at Highland Community College, has had one of his poems published in a book of poetry by the Library of America (the publishing arm of the Library of Congress) entitled “War No More: Three Centuries of American Anti-War and Peace Writing.” The book of poetry was edited by Lawrence Rosenwald, who is one of the main editors for The Library of America’s Ralph Waldo Emerson.

kent johnsonJohnson’s poem is called “Baghdad,” and was written in 2003 shortly before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. This poem was also published two years later in an anthology titled “Poets Against the War” by The Nation Books.

Johnson is one of the faculty founders of Highland Community College’s “The Prairie Wind,” a collection of original poetry, prose, visual art, and recorded music contributed by students, staff, alumni, and other members of the Highland Community. It is published in May of each year.

Also published in “War No More: Three Centuries of American Anti-War and Peace Writing” is Austin Smith, a native of Freeport. Smith’s poem is entitled “That Particular Village.” Austin was first published in The Prairie Wind when he was 12-years-old. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and Harper’s magazines.

“Austin has gone on from his first publication in ‘The Prairie Wind’ to become one of the most promising young writers in the United States,” said Johnson. “It’s quite odd, really, that a small town like Freeport would have two writers in a book like this. Even odder, maybe, that little Stephenson County would have three writers represented, with Jane Addams being the other one.”

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