Graduate student Charles Kell wrote and published a poetry book titled, “Cage of Lit Glass,” that was awarded the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize.

Kell is an English major and part-time writing and rhetoric professor at the University of Rhode Island. URI provided Kell with his start in poetry after taking classes with poetry professor Peter Covino in the fall of 2013. Before poetry, Kell always had a deep love for writing and reading.

“I’ve always loved the sound of words,” Kell said. “I’m a huge reader. Reading, to me, is the most important thing.”

Reading and writing were an integral part of Kell’s childhood as he found himself constantly reading and always wanted to write his own books.

“I thought my first book was going to be a novel,” Kell said. “Poetry came by accident really, I started writing and gathering poems. A lot of them started speaking to one another. They would start to talk to one another. A lot of them had similar themes and ideas. There would be recurring characters and individuals from my past that would pop up.”

The Autumn House Press Poetry Prize was a welcomed surprise for him as he had submitted his work for numerous different prizes. As an artist, Kell feels very comfortable in putting his work out there and welcomes any critique and analysis.

“Rejection doesn’t bother me,” Kell said. “I welcome people critiquing my work. I know how I feel about the work and I have a strong feeling about what I do. It’s just putting yourself out there and being open to any kind of feedback and criticism, whether positive or negative. It’s just a part of the process.”

Kell will graduate from URI in May of 2019 and plans to become a teacher. He wanted to find a way to practice reading and writing for the rest of his life and from there, he found education. In addition, Kell loves the atmosphere of higher education.

“I love teaching,” Kell said. “I love interacting and reading with students and being around the atmosphere of higher education. It’s an atmosphere conducive to growth and learning and change and intellectual and creative curiosity.”

Originally, Kell wanted nothing to do with college when he was coming out of high school. “I wasn’t a really good high school student,” Kell said. “I was more of a class clown. School wasn’t appealing to me so I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to do anything.”

Kell entertained the thought of joining the military but then realized that wasn’t for him either. Coming out of high school, he went to work in a sawmill factory where he worked for four years. While he made a good amount of money, he wasn’t happy with working a full-time job.

“It was a good job and I was making good money but I was miserable,” Kell said. “I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.” After moving on from that job, Kell decided to give school a try and now he can easily say that he made the right choice.