HJ/EDJuly 17, 2006

English teacher receives award for poem

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Dassel-Cokato High School media specialist, Paul Beckermann not only encourages his students to submit their works for publication, he leads by example.

Beckermann is now published in “Fire Ring Voices,” an anthology of writings by men, through Bemidji State University.

This year, he has received Fire Ring Voices’ 2006 Outstanding Poetry Award for his poem “Backroads.”

The first draft of “Backroads” was written 10 years ago, and was inspired by a former student.

“Oftentimes, people get pigeonholed into a certain stereotype and they aren’t given the opportunity to break out of that stereotype,” Beckermann said.

The student he referred to was a shop student, but he knew there was more to the student than that. The student joined Beckermann’s creative writing course, which was totally unexpected of him.

“I admired him for that,” Beckermann said.

Most of Beckermann’s poems are about people.

“They are portraits or character sketches, in a way,” he said.

Beckermann did most of the publishing of his poems in the mid-to late-1990s.

He has sent approximately 45 poems and stories to small publications around the nation.

Last year, he had two of his short stories published in “Stories Teachers Tell,” compiled by John and Gretchen Hastler.

Beckermann selects which poems to publish based on his audience.

Even though Beckermann has been more involved with song writing, he has never lost his passion for writing poetry. Last summer, he completed a rough draft of a novel.

Now, after 18 years of teaching English, Beckermann will be the new media specialist for the DC high school and is looking forward to a new challenge.

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