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English Professor Tom Trusky Leaves Behind a Rich Legacy

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 2:30 pm / December 2, 2009

Trusky250x150The campus and community were saddened Wednesday by news of the sudden passing of Tom Trusky, a professor in the Department of English since 1970 and an iconic figure on the Boise State campus.

Trusky was named Idaho’s Professor of the Year three times by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education —  in 1990, 1991 and 1993.

During his almost four decades at the university, he founded or co-founded several publications aimed at encouraging creative writing, including cold-drill and the Ahsahta Press poetry series. In addition, he was editor of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry of the West series, director of the Hemingway Western Studies Center, founder and director emeritus of the Idaho Center for the Book and head of the Idaho Film Collection. He also was instrumental in initiating Boise State’s MFA program.

Trusky’s research focused on a variety of subjects, including censorship in Idaho public libraries, WWI Belgian wheat and flour sack paintings, AIDS and artists’ books, forest clear-cutting and a number of other topics. From 1980-1995, he turned his attention to silent filmmaker Nell Shipman. Most recently he was focused on the life and works of Idaho artist and bookmaker James Castle.

He will be remembered by his students and colleagues for his unique classroom projects, including refrigerator poetry, Burma Shave-style campus signs, oracle bone readings and creative book art publications.

Memorial service plans will be communicated through Update as information becomes available.