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Cheney's book honors deceased student

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 29 - April 24, 1997

Ophelia's Legs and Other Poems, edited by Anne Cheney of the English department, memorializes the life and work of Theresa Courtney Gillespie, a Virginia Tech student who died Feb. 10, 1996.

In an introduction, Cheney describes Gillespie as beautiful inside and out. Cheney, a friend of Gillespie's as well as a teacher, tells of their long talks, their many mutual interests (including the Grateful Dead and literature), and the history of the student she says eventually would have won the Pulitzer for her poetry.

The book contains 39 poems by Gillespie, who had just been accepted to graduate school. The poems range from the free-spirited "Motorcycle" to the melancholy "Elysian Fields," written to those she had lost in her life. It includes the title poem, "Ophelia's Legs (Voyeur in a Small Town)," first published in the collection Dead Snakes, Cats, and the IRS.

The book contains several poems written about Theresa Gillespie by Cheney, other faculty members, and fellow students. It also contains drawings of Gillespie done from photographs.

Ophelia's Legs and other Poems, published by Pocahontas Press in Blacksburg, is available at local bookstores or from the publisher.