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Westminster College English Professor Emeritus Publishes Latest Book

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Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dr. James Perkins, Westminster College professor of English emeritus, is the author of Bird by Bird Watching published in May by Dawn Valley Press.

Perkins’ latest literary endeavor, his 21st book since coming to Westminster, is a collaboration with his longtime friend and colleague, the late Nelson Oestreich, whose woodcut bird prints illustrate this volume of Perkins’ poems.

“In this work we operated as we did in the Amish books, each of us working independently with the general notion of birds,” Perkins wrote in the preface to the book. “Oestreich is interested in form and color while (I) use birds as metaphor.”

The book’s introduction was written by local ornithologists, Dr. Kerri Cornell Duerr, Westminster assistant professor of biology, and her husband, Dr. Adam Duerr: “Even a book open in the hand will look like a bird in flight. In Bird by Bird Watching, the reader will discover the fascinating diversity of birds, their behaviors, and the power of the human spirit.”

Perkins, who was a Fulbright senior lecturer at Seoul National University in 1998 and was honored with Westminster's Distinguished Faculty Award in 2006, earned an undergraduate degree from Centre College, master's degree from Miami University and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. In addition to this and six previous volumes on which he collaborated with Oestreich, Perkins has published more than a hundred short stories and poems, as well as writing or editing books on Robert Penn Warren, Robert Drake, David Madden and other Southern writers.

Oestreich, former professor and chair of Westminster’s Department of Art, earned undergraduate and master of fine arts degrees from Bowling Green University and a master’s degree from Kent State University. A collaborator with Perkins for nearly 40 years, he wrote and illustrated Amish Children: What They Learn.

Kerri Duerr, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2010, earned an undergraduate degree from Hartwick College, master’s degree from Villanova University and Ph.D. from the University of Vermont. One of her areas of specialization is avian population ecology, working primarily with small songbird species.

Contact Perkins at 724-946-7347 or email for more information.