Judith Valente is an awarding-winning print and broadcast journalist, poet and essayist.
She began her work in journalism at the age of 21 as a staff reporter for The Washington Post. She later joined the staff of The Wall Street Journal, reporting from that paper's Chicago and London bureaus. She was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, first in the public service category as part of a team of reporters at The Dallas Times Herald investigating airline safety in the 1980's. In 1993, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer in the feature writing category for her front page article in The Wall Street Journal chronicling the story of a religiously conservative father caring for his son dying of AIDS.
For the past eight years, Ms. Valente has been a regular contributor to the national PBS-TV news program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly." She has won eight broadcast awards for her work on the show. Her work has also appeared on PBS-TV's "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer." She is also a commentator for National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio where she covers religion, interviews poets and authors, and is a guest essayist.
Ms. Valente has a new full length book of poems just out entitled "Discovering Moons," published by Virtual Artists Collective of Chicago. The collection is now available at www.vacpoetry.org, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.
Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver has said of Ms. Valente's poems: "[They] own their own beauty, offer themselves abundantly to metaphor. Ms. Valente has constructed an active, even frisky language, pulling into the poem references and allusions that tease our minds as they amplify the poem's subject and mood and landscape. We are engaged in a kind of rickrack stroll, enjoying the fulsome ride toward summation."
Of the new collection "Discovering Moons," one reviewer wrote, "Judith Valente's poems are deeply rooted in the everyday world, yet transport us to a place in the soul, a place C.S. Lewis called 'the real, real world ...' In language that is accessible yet inventive, these open-handed poems remind us it is a miracle simply to be alive."
Ms. Valente is also co-editor with Charles Reynard of “Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul” (Loyola Press, 2005), an anthology of poems and essays on finding the sacred in the everyday.
"Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul" won a 2008 Eric Hoffer Book Award as First Runner-Up in the Poetry category.
Ms. Valente has won numerous awards for her poetry. In 2004, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver selected her poetry chapbook, “Inventing An Alphabet,” for the national Aldrich Poetry Prize. She was awarded a Jo-Anne Hirshfield Poetry Award in 2005 for her poem “Body & Soul” and an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Award in 2003 for her poem, “Green.” She was a finalist in 2004 for the Emily Dickinson Prize from Universities West Press. She was recognized with a 2008 Muriel Craft Bailey Award from The Comstock Review for her poem "Mother of God Monastery, Watertown, South Dakota."
Her poems also have appeared in TriQuarterly, RHINO, Folio, Free Lunch, AfterHours, National Catholic Reporter and the anthologies “Best Catholic Writing of 2004” and “Illinois Poets: Where We Live.” She was a 2006 and 2008 fellow at the Ragdale Foundation artists' colony in Lake Forest, IL.
Ms. Valente and Mr. Reynard give readings and presentations based on their book "Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul" across the country. They lead spiritual retreats on the themes of “Discovering the Sacred In Daily Life” and "Building a Monastery of the Heart." They have given writing workshops on "Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography" and“Touching the Sacred Through Poetry.”
Ms. Valente recently collaborated with Maine photographer John Matt Dorn on an exhibit of her poems and his photographs, titled "Soul of a Camera, Eye of a Poet."
She is currently writing a non-fiction book on contemporary monastic life and its applications for people in the work world, based on her experiences over a period of years with the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison KS, tentatively titled, "Atchison Blue."
Judith Valente grew up in Bayonne, NJ in the shadow of New York City. She graduated from the Academy of St. Aloysius in Jersey City, NJ, and received a bachelor's degree in English and classical languages from St. Peter's College in Jersey City. She holds a masters in fine arts in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the daughter of the late Charles and Theresa Valente.
She is married to Charles Reynard, an Illinois Circuit Court Judge and poet. The couple lives in Chicago and Normal, IL.
To see Judith Valente's reports on PBS-TV, please go to pbs.org/religionðics or 30GoodMinutes.org and make your keyword "Valente."
To hear her radio reports on Chicago Public Radio, please go to chicagopublicradio.org, key word "Valente."
New This Month:
* Judith Valente writes about her journey from Wall Street Journal reporter to poet in "Poetry: A Way to Nourish the Soul," this month on www.poetryspeaks.com. https://www.poetryspeaks.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&Itemid=71
This piece was posted April 26, 2010
* See Judith Valente's recent profile of poet Mary Karr for PBS-TV at www.pbs.org/religionðics/karr.
This piece originally aired on PBS stations April 30, 2010.
Hear Judith Valente's latest commentary on Chicago Public Radio, about her experiences at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, KS, the subject of her next books at:
This piece aired Wednesday Feb. 17, 2010
Read poet James Reiss' review of Judith Valente's latest poetry collection, "Discovering Moons," on the wordpress.com website:
This review was posted in February 2010.
Journalist, Poet, Producer