Joseph Ridgway, an adjunct instructor at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC), was "pleasantly surprised" when the Arizona Authors' Association announced in November that his poem "Love's Sequence" had earned second place in the 2016 International Literary Awards.
Ridgway admits that the idea has been with him for some time. Motivated to commit his thoughts to paper by a recent life event, it took almost three months of writing and editing before the 16-line poem met his satisfaction. The Marlton resident, who has had essays and miscellaneous writings published in the past, decided it was time to add poetry to the mix. He entered the poem in several writing contests.
"The subject lent itself more to verse, as opposed to prose," said Ridgway about the poem that focuses on the consequences of time and the people we have lost. His work was one of the 37 writings selected from more than 300 submissions, representing the largest amount of entries since the Arizona Literary Association was established in 1980.
According to the Association's webpage, the "awards program honors both unpublished and published international literary excellence and has launched the careers of many authors." Ridgway was recently notified by the Arizona Literary Association that "Love's Sequence" had been submitted and nominated for the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses XLII, to be published both in hardcover and paperback in late fall 2017.
"We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our faculty members, who bring honor and notoriety to RCGC and to the Division of Business Studies," stated Dean Patricia Claghorn.
Having his poetry recognized by peers has been a satisfying experience for Ridgway. In November, he flew to Phoenix to accept his award at the Arizona Literary Association's Gala. The good news for RCGC students is that this does not mean he is giving up his job as an instructor. For more than 40 years, Ridgway has practiced law. He now shares his experience and knowledge in the classroom, teaching Business Law I and II to undergraduates and Criminal Law at the Gloucester County Police Academy. But to him, it is really all related.
"The same elements used in writing poetry and prose are used in my courses, such as critical thinking and categorizing thoughts," he noted. "The real lesson for my students is to understand that the law, in all of its forms, deals with the human effort to improve our lives, which can't effectively be accomplished without an understanding of the human condition and our relationships with each other."
For information about the Business Studies program, visit RCGC.edu/Business.
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located on a 250-acre campus on Tanyard Road, Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.