BA (Minnesota State University), MFA (University of Texas-Austin), PhD (University of Missouri-Columbia)
Office: Frandsen 012
Telephone: (775) 682-6386
Creative Writing-Poetry, Screenwriting, 20th Century American Literature, Romanticism
Michelangelo's Seizure. University of Illinois Press (2007)
The Pyramids of Malpighi. Anhinga Press (2004)
The Resurrection Machine. BkMk (University of Missouri-Kansas City) (2000)
Born in 1971, Steve Gehrke grew up in southern Minnesota. At the age of twelve, he was diagnosed with kidney failure and underwent two separate kidney transplants in 1985 (the first surgery having failed). Because of this, much of Steve's work continues to deal with illness, recovery, the body and identity.
Steve graduated from Mankato West High School in 1990, but health issues kept him out of college until after his next kidney transplant, in 1995. In 1996, he enrolled in Minnesota State University, where he completed his first book of poetry, The Resurrection Machine, which was selected for the 1999 John Ciardi Prize and published by BkMk Press (at the University of Missouri-Kansas City) in 2000.
From 1999-2002, Steve was a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas-Austin, where he received an MFA. During his time in Austin, he wrote and completed several screenplays, including "Entropy," a romantic-comedy revolving around a group of graduate students in physics. The screenplay was named a semi-finalist for the Chesterfield Screenwriting Contest. A subsequent screenplay, "The Futurist," placed in the top 5% in the Nicholl Screenwriting competition. At Texas, Steve also completed his second book of poetry, The Pyramids of Malpighi, which was selected for the Philip Levine Prize (by Levine himself) and published by Anhinga Books in 2004.
Steve completed his PhD at the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2006. Steve's areas of interest at Missouri were 20th Century American Literature and British Romanticism. During this time, Steve also became interested in portraiture, and this interest led to many of the poems in his third collection, Michelangelo's Seizure, which was selected for the National Poetry Series and published by the University of Illinois Press in 2007.
Individual poems have been awarded many prizes, including a Pushcart Prize, The Faulkner-Wisdom Prize for Poetry, The Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, The Washington Square Poetry Prize, and The Marlboro Review Prize for Poetry. In 2007, he was also awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other poems have appeared in dozens of journals, including Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Slate, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Agni, The Threepenny Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse and Literary Imagination.
Writing in Gulf Coast magazine, Craig Beaven writes: "Among poets, the oerve of Steve Gehrke is something of a legend....Yet more impressive than the credentials is the poetry itself, as Gehrke's works are large, conceptual undertakings, ones which bring together the human body, the cosmos, history and art--all within one tightly-controlled, elegantly-phrased poem."
Currently, Steve is completing his fourth book of poems, Prologue, Epilogue, and working on a comic screenplay, "The Back-Up Stan," which deals with computer consciousness and immortality.