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Bond, David (Poet) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Bond, David (Poet)

Historical Note:

David Raymond Bond, born November 22, 1949, is a librarian-poet, currently living in Carbondale, Illinois. He is the author of two full-length books of poetry, Colors and American Chicken, as well as the chapbooks 309 Garza Street, Trespass Visions, The Slaughterhouse of Love, and The Light That Shatters Darkness. Bond’s poems are also included in the books, The State of Southern Illinois and Great Possibilities: 150 Verne Morton Photographs.

His work has been featured in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Crab Orchard Review, storySouth, Quiddity, Big Muddy, Spoon River Poetry Review, Bearers of Distance, and Hurricane Blues.

Originally from Pana, Illinois, Bond received his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Education, English Major, Journalism Minor, from Eastern Illinois University, Charleston. He also worked on a Master’s degree in English, but the first draft lottery (he drew Number 9) interrupted that course of study. His ambivalence about fight or flight—he opposed the Vietnam War but felt a sense of responsibility to country and family—prompted him to join the Illinois National Guard and this mental confusion is a part of Bond’s later writings, particularly the poem, American Chicken.

The next chapter of his life included a failed marriage and employment as a bookstore clerk, newspaper writer, factory worker at a Zenith television factory, and substitute teacher. In 1980, Bond applied for and received a warehouse job at a coal mine, something he sought only for the much higher pay. This job, midnight shift, six days a week, afforded not only substantial income for a growing family, but time to focus and put down on paper ideas that later became poems.

By the early 1990s, Bond had written a small number of poems and had a few accepted in journals, which encouraged him even more. After reading books by Southern Illinois University poets Rodney Jones, Lucia Perillo, and Allison Joseph, he decided to apply to the English Department, not primarily for a degree, but “just to have someone to talk about poetry.”

In 1994, Bond was accepted at SIUC. At the recommendation of Rodney Jones, he received a “Talented Student” scholarship in 1995. He continued working at the mine concurrently until its closure and his discharge in December 1997. While in the MFA program, Bond received the AEGIS Poetry Award for 1995-1996.

In May 1998 Bond received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing and in June obtained a position at Morris Library, Southern Illinois University. He retired from that job in June 2018.

From that time until today, Bond has received many local, regional, and national awards and recognitions. He is a two-time Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship winner in poetry and a MacDowell Artist Colony Fellow. He has been awarded IAC Literary Awards twice for individual poems by an Illinois writer as well as IAC Professional Development Grants three times.

One of his most-prized awards is the 2005 Delta Award, a presentation given by the Friends of Morris Library, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, which reads, “In recognition of his evocative poetry describing the blue collar working man and the Midwest, giving the common man a unique place in the literature of Southern Illinois.”

Bond is also proud of his first Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry Award, received in 2001. As a winner, he was invited to The American Poets’ Reading, held at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. His reading that night and correspondence with The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Executive Director and Program Director, led to another presentation of the Lannan Literary Series Collection, 81 VHS tapes of contemporary poets reading their works, presented to Morris Library on his behalf and currently still part of their collection.

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