Chopson also teaches English at Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tenn. DA is a Christian school which serves students from pre-kindergarten through high school. According to the school’s website, they are dedicated to “nurturing spiritual, intellectual, physical, and social growth in an interdenominational setting.”
Chopson received a degree in philosophy from Eastern Michigan University, and then completed a masters of fine arts degree at Murray State.
“I have been a writer my whole life – always writing poetry, songs, essays, and short fiction as an avocation.
“I spent a number of years in radio, the world of advertising, and the music business before settling on a career in academia. I wrote copy and jingles for radio advertising, press releases, and promotional copy for a number of different types of clients,” he said.
Hawkins said that he feels strongly about his role in students’ lives.
“I see myself as a teacher, a guide, and a poet. I try to help my students take their writing to challenging places. I am a fan of many nineteenth century writers whose style and subject matter were atypical, transcendent. I attempt to guide my students toward these sorts of choices,” he said.
Chopson is also a published poet in his own right. In 2011, he had 17 poems published in 13 different journals and magazines.
He was nominated for a Pushcart prize as well, for his poem “The Registry Room.”
The Pushcart is an American literary prize by Pushcart Press that honors the best “poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot,” according to the prize’s website.
Chopson said that he uses “Starry Night” in his freshman composition and creative writing classes as a visual aid to help teach students how to observe more closely.
“The process is instructive on a number of different levels as well. What is it like to live like an artist, see like an artist, select details like an artist, and make unexpected conceptual ‘leaps’ like an artist? These are all very important questions to examine when developing your craft as a writer. ‘Starry Night,’ whether one studies the original or a poster print of the same, is a great piece to use in this manner,” he said.
Chopson lives with his wife Susan and their two children, Noah and Alexandra. Noah is a senior in high school who has recently been offered scholarships at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.