About Dr. Robert T. Rhode
Dr. Robert T. Rhode earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He began his college studies as a piano performance major. His master’s degree was in creative writing. His doctoral majors were early American literature and prose fiction (British and American novels); his minors, American studies (an interdisciplinary field) and creative writing. For 34 years, he served on the faculty of Northern Kentucky University, and he is a professor emeritus of English. He has published 17 books. His book (with John F. Spalding) The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia is a national best seller in nonfiction. Several of his books have been nominated for awards. His book (with Eleanor Yeager Stewart) Desktop Grammarian for Editors was a finalist in the USA Book Awards in the category of business reference. His book (with Judge Raymond L. Drake) Classic American Steamrollers, 1871–1935, Photo Archive won England’s Silver Jubilee Certificate. He has published an invited essay in Black Earth and Ivory Tower: New American Essays from Farm and Classroom, an anthology featuring “North America’s foremost contemporary writers on the present rural experience”; 181 articles in books and magazines covering the subject of agriculture and literature; 43 scholarly articles; and over 20 poems in refereed journals. His most recent writing includes two autobiographical blog novels: The Farm in Pine Village and The Farm East of Pine Village. Another book is forthcoming this summer and will be published in paperback by Engineers and Engines Magazine.
He has presented his research, scholarly papers, and creative work at 22 national conferences. On 24 occasions, he has served as an invited speaker at academic gatherings. He has given 26 presentations at regional and state conferences. He has curated exhibitions on the agricultural heritage, and he has assisted museums at home and abroad celebrating the agrarian legacy.
He has acted original, one-person plays depicting the lives of Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman. He performed over 30 productions as Whitman and 200 productions as Poe for a combined audience of over 20,000 people. In the spring of 1988, he performed for the Baltimore Poe Society, which selected his play as the winner in a national competition and subsequently named his play the authorized stage version of Poe’s life.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Early Day Hall of Fame primarily for his publications on the history of the steam era. In 2009, he was profiled in Indiana University’s Alumni Magazine, which, at that time, presented only 18 profiles annually. In 2002, he was named a Presidential Ambassadors Lamplighter Honoree. In 1995, he received the Strongest Influence Award, an honor given by NKU alumni. From 1990 through 1991, he served as the scholar for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to integrate scholarship and classroom practice through the study of Poe’s writing. He was the first director of NKU’s Honors Program and served in that capacity for 11 years.
Since 1976, he has been a freelance illustrator, publishing hundreds of drawings and paintings. He has drawn portraits of such luminaries as the great Kentucky author James Still, President of the American Bandmasters Association and recipient of the Edwin Franko Goldman Award Professor Frederick C. Ebbs, veteran entertainer Red Skelton, renowned author Truman Capote, Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry, attorney F. Lee Bailey, beloved author Maya Angelou, distinguished author Ntozake Shange, acclaimed author Marge Piercy, and many more. He has contributed cover designs for books and journals. He is known for sumi-e, ink-and-watercolor, and pastel paintings. He incorporates Impressionist techniques in otherwise realistic landscapes. For him, creating art is relaxing; in turn, serenity pervades his work.
Robert T. Rhode recommends this chapbook of poems by Patricia J. G. Ellis, who memorably expresses her upbringing in Kentucky through seasons of sorrow and joy. Patricia harvests a bounty of simple gladness from life’s stormy fields. Her book is a gift to those who love poems of heart, mind, and soul.
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