Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Erie, Erie County
A resident of Erie, John Repp teaches at Edinboro University and has published three volume-length books of poetry.
John Repp, born February 18, 1953, has earned two Master of Fine Arts degrees, the first from Central Michigan University in 1980, and a second from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. Since that time he has published poems, short stories, and essays in a wide variety of publications and has written several books and chapbooks including Thirst Like This (1990), The Fertile Crescent (2004), and Gratitude (2005). He has also earned several awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in 1987. At the time of this writing, Repp teaches at Edinboro University, where he lives with his wife and son.
John Repp was born to John W. Repp, Sr. and Maxine Joy Rettinger Repp on February 18, 1953, in Vineland, New Jersey. After attending Vineland High school, he went on to attend several universities and colleges including Penn State University, Rutgers University, and Cumberland County College. In 1977, he earned his bachelor of arts degree in literature and creative writing from Franconia College. While working toward his master of fine arts degree, he received his first publication in The Small Pond Magazine in 1979. In 1980, he finished his MFA in creative writing from Central Michigan University; he then went on to earn a second MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985.
Since that time, Repp has been published in many anthologies, magazines, journals and newspapers including Bedford Introduction to Literature, Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,and The Journal. He has also published three books of poetry: Thirst Like This (1990), The Fertile Crescent (2004), and Gratitude (2005); along with seven limited edition chapbooks. He has also published one chapbook of short stories, The Old West (and Other Tales) in 2001 and a textbook, How We Live Now: Contemporary Multicultural Literature in 2002. His work has been honored with many awards including a National Endowment in the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in 1987. He has also been a recipient of many residency fellowships in artist colonies such as Yaddo and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.
His poetry has many themes including family, history, setting, friendship, music, and food. These themes can be seen in his poem "Out the Window" featured in Thirst Like This. The poem vividly describes a simple scene out of the speaker's window. From this scene, the speaker delves into the recollections of his mother, highlighting the nature of their relationship and the importance of family history. A woman unloads groceries this blinding Saturday. Her son-coatless, curly-headed, maybe ten- hugs a bag and shuffles toward the house. She yells, throws her thick arms up, grabs two bags and strides after him, her violet shirt flapping. It's damned cold out there, yet these two ferry groceries as if it were summer, as if it were all that mattered. I'm reminded how much everything meant to my mother, even the green glass pitcher, even a boot fastened wrong, even one Sunday missed...
Repp currently resides in Erie with his wife, visual artist Katherine Knupp, and their son Dylan. He teaches writing and literature at Edinboro University and continues to write. He also is listed as an artist-in-education through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In the artist-in-education program, he, along with other high-caliber professional artists, works to develop, support, and maintain high quality arts education in the school and community.
Thirst Like This. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 1990.
The Fertile Crescent. Cincinnati: Cherry Grove Collections, 2004.
Gratitude. Cincinnati: Cherry Grove Collections, 2005.
Things Work Out. Aiken, SC: Palanquin, 1998.
The Meaning of Rock and Roll. Greensboro, NC: March Street, 2002.
Soon. Columbus:Pudding House, 2003.
White Doe. Bay City, MI: Mayapple, 2004.
Time to Get Some Things Straight. Greensboro, NC: March Street, 2005.
No Away. Columbus:Pudding House, 2007.
Fever.Bay City, MI: Mayapple, 2007.
Big Conneautee. Lewisburg, PA: Seven Kitchens, 2010
The Old West (and Other Tales). Greensboro NC: March Street, 2001.
Heart of Joy. Greensboro, NC: March Street, 2009
How We Live Now: Contemporary Multicultural Literature. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1992.
Maddox, Marjorie, and Jerry Wemple, eds. Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University, 2005.