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UW Professor Missing in Japan

April 30, 2009
Craig Arnold

Award-winning University of Wyoming Assistant Professor Craig Arnold has been missing in Japan since Sunday, April 26.

Colleagues say Arnold, a faculty member in the Department of English, is in Japan through the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission's Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship. He was visiting the volcano on the island of Kuchinoerabu-jima for a book he is writing about world volcanoes.

"The thoughts of the UW community are with Craig and his family," UW President Tom
Buchanan says. "We hope the Japanese search team will be able to continue its work until he is found."

Colleagues say he had planned to stay overnight on the island, long enough to visit the volcano and leave the next day, but he did not return to the local inn after embarking on a mid-afternoon hike to the volcano.

A search team of 10 policemen from nearby Yakushima, 30 local firemen, search dogs and a helicopter has searched the area for three days, says Rebecca Lindenberg, Arnold's fiance. Japanese law authorizes searches for missing persons for three days. The third day of this search falls on Showa Day, a national holiday.

"Craig has visited many volcanoes around the world in recent years and is very experienced," Lindenberg says.

"Although the search and rescue team made up of the local fire brigade and police from the neighboring island of Yakushima are doing a thorough and excellent job," Christopher Arnold says, "their effectiveness with only 40 people is limited on an island densely covered with vegetation. I know my brother is tough and can survive in these conditions for many days, but I sincerely hope more manpower can be devoted to the search soon."

Arnold has been blogging about his trip on Volcano Pilgrim: Five Months in Japan as a Wandering Poet. His most recent entry was on April 26.

Arnold, who is considered one of the most exciting poets of his generation, is the author of two award-winning volumes of poetry: "Shells," chosen by W.S. Merwin for the highly prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1999, and "Made Flesh" (2008). His poetry has been anthologized in several volumes of the Best American Poetry Series, and his poems, articles, and translations from the Spanish have appeared in such publications as The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry Magazine, Yale Review, and others.

He has received numerous awards and honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship, the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship in Humanities from Princeton University, an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arnold joined the UW faculty in 2004 after earning his Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Utah and a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from Yale University.

Posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009

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