About the Poet
Born in the coal-mining town of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania to Frederick Awad and Helen Dwyer. His father was a first generation Lebanese immigrant and his mother a first generation Irish immigrant. In 1939, after the death of his mother, his father moved them to Washington DC. Awad obtained a scholarship to Gonzaga College High School. He then attended Georgetown University where he was editor of The Georgetown Journal and graduated cum laude with a BA in English Literature.
Awad was appointed national president of the Public Relations Society of America in 1982 and chaired their prestigious College of Fellows. He was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for career achievement by the Society’s Old Dominion Chapter. After time spent in Louisville, Kentucky and Chicago, Illinois, he, his wife, Doris, and ten children settled in Richmond, Virginia in 1963.
Awad published six books of poetry, The Neon Distances (1980), Shenandoah Long Ago (1990), Leaning to Hear the Music (1997), The Big Bang (1999), Late Into the Night (2009), and Construction Ahead, a chapbook with Irish poet Ger Killeen, 1989. His poems have been included in many anthologies and literary journals, including American Religious Poems, an anthology by Harold Bloom, Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry, Menton's Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry, The Poetry Society of Virginia Anthology Commonweal, Parnassus, The Kansas Quarterly, The William and Mary Review, and The Poet's Domain. He was a member and eventual president of the Poetry Society of Virginia and awarded their Edgar Allan Poe Prize.
Other prizes include The Lyric's Nathan Haskell Dole Prize and the Donn Goodwin Prize for Poetry. Awad was Poet Laureate of Virginia for the term 1998–2000. Joseph Awad died in Richmond, Virginia, surrounded by his family on July 17, 2009.
Virginia City or County Affiliation
Year of Birth
Published Works or Performances
- The Neon Distances.The Golden Quill Press, 1980.
- Shenandoah Long Ago. Poet's Press, 1990.
- Leaning to Hear the Music. Road Publishers, 1997.
- The Big Bang. Poet's Press, 1999.
- Late Into the Night. Prospero's World Press, 2009.
- Construction Ahead, a chapbook with Irish poet Ger Killeen, Sparrow, 1989.
Selected Individual Poems or Performances
- The Neon Distances, 2007.