Robert P. Arthur

Robert P. Arthur

October 05, 1943 – ...

Robert Peebles "Bob" Arthur (born 1943) is primarily a poet, but also a novelist, a short-story writer, a playwright, a critic, a director, and a professor. He has written and published fourteen books of poetry and plays, two novels, and a book of short stories, and has had nineteen poem/plays, plays in verse, and musical programs featuring poetry produced. He is known nationally and internationally for taking poetry to the stage. He has written approximately 1,500 articles on the theatre for newspapers and magazines and produced numerous poetry shows, as well as poetry readings. A finalist for Poet Laureate of Virginia in 2008 and 2010, he remains best known for his book of poems, Hymn to the Chesapeake, the best-selling book in the history of Road Publishers. Three of his works have been produced as dance suites in poetry. In addition, he has ghost written two novels, three biographies, and a history of music.
He is widely regarded as the finest poet of the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, as well as a poet of Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, and Appalachia. He is also known for his passionate, singing delivery of poems and his "sense of place." He continues to teach poetry and playwriting in colleges and universities after forty-seven years of it and is currently the President of the Poetry Society of Virginia.
Eleven of his plays have been pegged "poem-plays," a genre possibly created by Arthur. Additionally, Arthur has founded two national literary journals: BlackWater Review (with poet Juliet Crichton) and Lady Jane's Miscellany" (with poet Jeff Hewitt) in 2009. In 2002, he founded Poetry in Performance,a touring poetry group that starred Lisa Neely, Amber Wood, Sunday Abbott, Jeff Hewitt, and D.D. Delaney. "Poetry in Performance" has featured the music of internationally known singers and performers Gordon Bok, Andy Stewart, and Bob Zentz, as well as the new works of the Blue Marsh Band and the poetry of Virginia Poets Laureate Claudia Emerson and Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda.
In 2005, he founded San Francisco Bay Press with Jeff Hewitt and his daughter, Hannah, who was Editor-in-Chief. In 2007, he co-founded the Spoken Word Theatre at 40th Street Stage in Norfolk, Virginia, also with Hewitt. He has been a literary and/or drama critic for five newspapers and magazines, including Port Folio Magazine (Virginia Beach), where he co-founded with Bill Candler the Port Folio Awards for dramatic arts," and served as its director for over fifteen years . He is a former Artistic Director of the Edge Theatre in Belle Haven, Virginia: the Poetry Selection Editor of Northampton House Press; and a former director of a drama program at Tidewater Community College.
Arthur is a writer-in-residence in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and a former writer-in-residence of Beverly Cordoba Duane's Second Wind Dance Company in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He served out the term as one of three literary advisors for the Poetry Society of Virginia, replacing the great Virginia poet and writer, George Garrett, on the latter's death in 2009. He is now President of the Poetry Society of Virginia.