Tuesday, November 7
6:30PM - 8:00PM
2719 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201

Hiett Prize Winner Dr. James Matthew Wilson along with Houston Poet and Police Officer Sarah Cortez to Speak at the Dallas Institute’s Hiett Prize Forum

dallas, NOVEMBER 1, 2017: 2017 Hiett Prize in the Humanities Recipient, Poet, and Professor Dr. James Matthew Wilson along with Houston Poet and Police Officer Sarah Cortez will speak at the annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities Forum on November 7 at 6:30pm at the Dallas Institute.

James Matthew Wilson and Sarah Cortez are decidedly different in many ways—from different parts of the country, different ethnic backgrounds, different professional lives. But they share at least one thing in common that is paramount for them both: a love of poetry. And not only a love, but a deep-seated belief in poetry’s importance in today’s world. During the Hiett Forum, the two distinguished poets will read from their published work and discuss why poetry matters today—especially today.

“We look forward to hosting these two extraordinary poets. To experience their poetry is to understand why, as they both insist, poetry matters,” said Dr. J. Larry Allums, Executive Director of the Dallas Institute.

Wilson is Associate Professor of Religion and Literature in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University.  He is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, and an award-winning scholar of philosophical theology and literature. Wilson has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty.

“I have sought to serve as an advocate for poetry, for art and literature, and for the integrity of the intellectual, religious, and political life in general,” said Wilson.

Wilson’s current work focuses on modern poetry, particularly on Irish modernist poets. He has published several books, most recently The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, along with roughly 125 poems including his collection of poems, Some Permanent Things. As well, Wilson has written 137 essays and articles including his major critical study, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking.

His work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern AgeNational Review, and The American Conservative. He is the Poetry Editor of Modern Age magazine, and also serves on the boards of several learned journals and societies.

Twice, Wilson has been awarded the Lionel Basney Award by the Conference for Christianity and Literature; he has been a runner up for both the Foley Prize for Poetry by America magazine and the Jacques Maritain Essay Prize by Dappled Things magazine.  Wilson was awarded the 2017 Hiett Prize in the Humanities by the Dallas Institute. He will receive his award at the annual luncheon on November 7.

Wilson holds the Ph.D. in English, Literature, and Irish Studies, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He graduated from the University of Michigan with his B.A. in English Literature with a sub-concentration in Creative Writing.

Fellow Hiett Forum speaker Sarah Cortez is a Houston native, police officer, and award-winning poet. She is the author of Cold Blue Steel and How to Undress a Cop providing poetic insights into the role and experiences of an officer of the peace. Her latest book, Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials features Texas poets’ responses to stunning black and white photographs of roadside memorials.

Cortez is a Councilor of the Texas Institute of Letters and Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  She is a featured expert on the American Trigger Sports Network and both a Houston and Texas recent finalist for poet laureate. Cortez’s honors include 2016 Southwest Book of the Year, Winner of Press Women of Texas 2016 Award for Editing and Winner of the National Federation of Press Women 2016 Award for Editing. She was the Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award, and multiple International Latino Book Awards.


Cortez received her bachelor’s degree from Rice University and continued her education to receive two advanced degrees, one from the University of Texas-Austin and one from the University of Houston-Central. Her Police Academy was completed at the University of Houston-Downtown.

The Hiett Prize Forum will be Tuesday, Novermber 7, 6:30pm with a 6:00pm reception at The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture at 2719 Routh Street, Dallas. The event is free to the public. Reservations can be made through dallasinstitute.org or by phone at 214-871-2440.

The Dallas Institute Website
James Matthew Wilson Website
Sarah Cortez Website