August 8, 1959-June 28, 2020
COAL VALLEY — Kim Suzanne Bridgford, 60, of Philadelphia, formerly of Coal Valley, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 28, at Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf after a brief battle with cancer.
Born Aug. 8, 1959, in Coal Valley, Ill., to Kenneth and Carole Bridgford, Kim graduated from Moline High School. She received her B.A. and M.F.A from the University of Iowa, the latter from the prestigious Iowa Writer's Workshop, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. She married Peter Duval in 1989. She was an award-winning poet, professor, arts administrator, editor, fiction writer and literary critic.
Kim taught at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., and at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa., where she served as director of the West Chester University Poetry Center. She founded and directed Poetry by the Sea, a Global Conference for formal poets, held annually in Madison, Conn. She was founder and editor-in-chief of Mezzo Cammin, an online journal of formal poetry by women, and The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, the world's largest database of women poets. Both projects recognize, support and respect women poets, particularly women poets of color.
In 1994 Kim was named Connecticut Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship in poetry in 1999, and an Artist Fellowship in poetry from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts in 2003. She has appeared in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Connecticut Post, NPR and the News Hour with Jim Lehrer website. She authored 10 books of poetry and has been published in many other venues including Redbook and The Georgia Review. Her poetry collection "In the Extreme, Sonnets about World Records" was the winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. She collaborated with Jo Yarrington on The Falling Edge, a three-book series of poetry and photography. She was known nationally as a leader of the New Formalism movement in poetry and has been called “America's First Lady of Form.”
Kim was a warm, generous person whose quiet and loving nature belied her vast professional and artistic accomplishments. In addition to her published works, she leaves a legacy of education guidance, and inspiration to generations of fellow writers, students and mentees. She made the world a better place in so many ways.
Those left to cherish her memory include her greatest accomplishment, her son, Nicholas Duval, of Philadelphia; Nicholas' father, Peter Duval, of Jersey City, N.J.; parents, Ken and Carole Bridgford, of Coal Valley; a brother, Kevin (Sandy) Bridgford, of Westmont, Ill.; sisters, Kelly (Rob) Higgins, of LaGrange, Ill., and Kari (Pat) Waldron, of Adel, Iowa; beloved nieces and nephews, Ben Higgins, Will Higgins, Kate Higgins, Jonah Waldron, Sam Waldron, Clara Waldron and Leo Waldron; cousins, colleagues, former students, fellow writers and friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Reynold and Dorothy Nelson and Lyle and Lucille Bridgford.
The family would like to thank the medical staff of Genesis East (Karen) and her loving caretakers at Clarissa Cook. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made by check to Poetry by the Sea, Inc. or online at: http://poetrybytheseaconference.org/sponsorship-donations/.
Private funeral services will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Coal Valley, Ill., with the Rev. Timothy Snart, officiating.
The family invites friends to share stories and condolences at TrimbleFuneralHomes.com.
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