Featured faculty

Dick Polman

Dick Polman is the Maury Povich "writer in residence," a full-time member of the CPCW faculty, as well as a political columnist and daily blogger for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He spent 22 years on the Inquirer writing staff; most recently, as the national political writer from 1992 to 2006, he covered four presidential elections and dozens of Senate and House races nationwide. At other times, he was a foreign correspondent based in London; a baseball writer covering the Philadelphia Phillies; a general-assignment feature writer; and a longtime regular contributor to the newspaper's Sunday magazine, where he wrote long-form pieces about everything from Nazi war criminals to the comeback of the condom. Prior to the Inquirer, he was a metro columnist on the Hartford Courant, and was the founding editor of an alternative newspaper, the Hartford Advocate. Dick attended George Washington University, where he served as managing editor of the college newspaper, and graduated with a BA in Public Affairs in 1973. He first came to Penn in 1999, when he audited classes during a one-semester fellowship, and he started teaching at Penn part time in 2003. Dick and his wife, Elise Vider, live in Center City. They have a son, who works at Cigna in Center City, and a daughter who attends Bard College.

Anthony DeCurtis

Anthony DeCurtis is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he has written for nearly thirty years, and his work has also appeared in The New York Times and many other publications. He is the author of In Other Words: Artists Talk About Life and Work (Hal Leonard, 2005) and Rocking My Life Away: Writing About Music and Other Matters (Duke University Press, 1998). In addition, he coedited the third editions of The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll and The Rolling Stone Album Guide (both published by Random House, 1992), and edited Present Tense: Rock & Roll and Culture (Duke, 1992). Most recently he edited Blues & Chaos: The Music Writing of Robert Palmer (Scribner, 2009). His awards include a 1988 Grammy Award in the "Best Album Notes" category for his essay accompanying the Eric Clapton box set "Crossroads," and three ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for excellence in writing about music. DeCurtis holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University and lives in New York City.

Paul Hendrickson

Paul Hendrickson (MP3 of the author) is the 2005 recipient of the Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent book, Sons of Mississippi, won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award in general nonfiction. It also won the Heartland Prize presented annually by the Chicago Tribune, and in addition was named to many newspapers "Top 10" lists for books published in 2003. The book, which was published by A.A. Knopf and is now out in Vintage softcover, is a study of the legacy of racism in the families of seven Mississippi sheriffs of the 1960s. The research and writing, which took about five years, were supported by both a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship. Before Penn, Hendrickson worked for thirty years in daily journalism. He was a staff feature writer at the Washington Post from 1977 to 2001. Eventually, he came to understand the truth of the old saying that the legs are the first to go, and that the honorable and difficult business of writing perishable pieces on deadline belonged to younger people. He needed to try to find a place--a home--where he could continue to work on books and the occasional magazine article and to be involved with gifted, creative people. So now, luck beyond dream, fortune beyond hope, he finds himself conducting writing workshops full time at Penn in advanced nonfiction. The neophyte professor, hardly young anymore, was born in California but grew up in the Midwest and in a Catholic seminary in the Deep South, where he studied seven years for the missionary priesthood. This became the subject of his first book, published in 1983: Seminary: A Search. His other books, in addition to Sons and Seminary, are: Looking for the Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott (a finalist for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award); and The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War (finalist for the National Book Award in 1996). They, too, were published by Knopf. Hendrickson has degrees in American literature from St. Louis University and Penn State. He is married and lives with his family (world-class wife, two world-class sons) in Havertown, Pennsylvania. Oh, yes: He's deep into his next nonfiction book, which has to do with Ernest Hemingway.


Creative Writing faculty
Critical Writing faculty
Faculty at the Kelly Writers House