Eldon Katter Wins Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book Award 2019 (Ethiopia)

Nature’s Poetry
by Eldon Katter  (Ethiopia 1962-64)

Eldon Katter was Chair of the Department of Art Education and Crafts and Professor of Art Education at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He was also editor of SchoolArts magazine for 11 years and president of the National Art Education Association. In the 1950s he taught art in Park Ridge, Illinois and later in Needham, Massachusetts. As Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s, Eldon and his wife, Adrienne, taught at a teacher training school in Harar, Ethiopia and then worked for the Teacher Education in East Africa Project in Kampala, Uganda.

Eldon was the designer and co-author of several educational art games, including Token Response, and the co-author of Explorations in Art, an elementary textbook series for Grades 1-6, and Art and Human Experience, a textbook series for middle school, published by Davis Publications. Inc. He was also the author of Multicultural Art Print Series II, published by the Getty Center for Education in the Arts. His degrees include a Ph.D. in art education from The Pennsylvania State University, a Master’s degree in art education from the University of Minnesota, where he was assistant director of the Craft Center in the Kaufman Memorial Student Union, and a Bachelor’s degree with certification to teach art and journalism from the University of Evansville in Indiana. He also studied instructional media development at Indiana University and international education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

Nature’s Poetry by Eldon Katter (Ethiopia 1962-64) is an engaging, though none too rigorous, informal compilation of the author’s poetry and art. Black and white illustrations appear on almost every page. The nature drawings are snapshots from the author’s sketchbooks, some dating back to his Indiana youth and others recording his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Harar, Ethiopia in the 1960s. Some are photographs of paintings documenting his travels. One section of the small 100 page book is illustrated with the author’s hand-made paper pieces, highlighting recycling and the use of natural fiber materials in paper-making. For the most part, the poems are an octogenarian’s reflections on his youth in rural Southern Indiana, his eventual encounters with nature abroad, and summer vacations with family on Cape Cod. In some instances, the poems were inspired by his sketches and artwork, others were copied from his old journals and letters and paired with appropriate artwork. Nature, of course, is the theme of the causerie, subdivided into seven parts: place, time and weather, recreation, beauty, creatures, resources, and sketching nature. The collection serves as a reminder of the importance of sketching and journaling in the enhancement of memory.

4 Comments

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    • Thanks, Carolyn. And I must say, I am impressed by your extensive body of work. Adrienne and I think of you often as we reminisce about our mutual friend, Cora.

  • Congratulations, Eldon. although I’ve seen a few of your poems and sketches, I was not aware of your large body of work. Or that you visited the Cape in the summer, or you participated in the TEA program at TC after Peace Corps, or how you got to teach in Needham. I enjoyed spending time with you and Adrienne and hope to see you at the next PC event. Rusty

  • Congratulations Eldon!

    Great to know of your recognition for your many years of work in art and poetry. I look forward to reading your book. Regards to Adrienne. We have just moved to Washington, DC. If you’re ever in the area let me know.
    Will Siegel
    wmsieg@comcast.net

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