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Mattawa Named MacArthur Fellow

"Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.”

Among those to whom Conrad was referring as she introduced the 2014 recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowship's was our own Khaled Mattawa, who received his MFA in poetry here in 1994. Mattawa's work in translation, transnationalism and Arab and Arab-American poetry makes important contributions to a better understanding of the important role art has to play in cultural mediation. The MacArthur Foundation Fellowships are among the most prestigious accolades in the academic world. Congratulations, Khaled!

Read more about Prof. Mattawa's work and the MacArthur Foundation here: http://www.macfound.org/fellows/922/
Kiese Laymon Awarded 2014 Saroyan Prize

Kiese Laymon (MFA Fiction, 2003) has been awarded the 2014 William Saroyan Prize by Stanford University for his debut novel, Long Division. Set in the rural Mississippi in which he was raised, Laymon's novel weaves past and present in a complex time-traveling plot that reviewer Lucy McKeon praises for both its ambition and achievement: "more than anything, Laymon shows with surprising lucidity how American racialized inequality is persistent but mutable, that the past is not the present, but isn't, either, entirely past."

The Saroyan Prize is awarded biennially by Stanford University Library to new and emerging writers in fiction and non-fiction. The judges for the 2014 award in fiction were Heidi Durrow, Patrick Hunt, and Elizabeth McKenzie. Congratulations, Kiese, on this auspicious debut and significant accolade.

“Smart and funny and sharp...I loved it.” — Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones, 2011 National Book Award winner

Read more about Long Division and the Saroyan Prize here: https://library.stanford.edu/projects/william-saroyan-international-prize-writing/2014-fiction-winner

Link to the Agate Bolden page for Long Division: http://www.agatepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=93284100797570
Ming Holden's Survival Girls

A creative writer, artist, and international development worker, Ming Holden (2013 Graduate) was most recently invited by the US Embassy to Suriname on a diplomatic speaking engagement under the U.S. Speakers Program for Women’s History Month. In 2011, she founded the Survival Girls, a theater group for young Congolese women in the slums of Nairobi.

Her first book, the nonfiction novella TheSurvival Girls, came out in 2013 through Wolfram Productions. Ming
also won the USAID worldwide essay contest for inclusion in the USAID Frontiers in Development publication alongside work by Bill Gates, Indra Noori, Paul Collier, and others. Her essay about the Survival Girls got some love from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself in the book’s introduction! (Ming’s writing about the Girls was also nominated for the AWP Intro Award for Nonfiction.)
Alison Powell’s On the Desire to Levitate (Ohio U.P., 2014)

Congratulations to Alison Powell (Poetry, 2006) whose On the Desire to Levitate won last year’s Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and has just been released by Ohio University Press.

This striking collection includes vivid,
unflinching meditations on aging, mythology, poetry, and family. In tight, elegant lines that alternate between homage and elegy, these poems explore known subjects with a rebellious eye: a defeated Hercules and a bitter Eurydice, a sympathetic Lucifer, and generations of adolescent girls as mythical adventurers moving within a beloved but confining Midwest. Yet in Powell's skillful hands, hardship never overtakes: as judge Charles Hood writes, “There's often a delicious humor in this work, and always a deep and lasting integrity.”

http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/On+the+Desire+to+Levitate
NPR interview with Kiese Laymon about his recently published essay collection

Read the entire story and listen to the interview here.
Filipelli Publishes Elseplace

Congratulations to Laura Filipelli (MFA, Poetry, 2003) on the publication of her first book, Elseplace, by the Brooklyn Arts Press!

Laurie Filipelli is a poet and educator living in Austin, Texas. She earned an M.F.A. from Indiana University and an M.A. from the University of Cincinnati, and has taught high school English and trained writers to teach in public schools. Her work has appeared in such places as the Columbia Review, Madison Review, and Web Del Sol: The Potomac. Elseplace is her debut collection of poetry.
Ryan Teitman wins $25,000 from NEA

Ryan Teitman, (MFA Poetry, 2010), recieved $25,000 from the NEA to work on his second collection of poems. See story here. Congratulations Ryan!
Kyle Dargan interviewed by Bill Moyers

Poet Kyle Dargan (MFA, 2006) was recently interviewed by Bill Moyers for an upcoming episode of "Moyers & Company" on PBS. He recently read from his work on WFIU's "The Poets Weave": Podcast.

Kyle Dargan is the author of three collections of poetry, Logorrhea Dementia (2010), Bouquet of Hungers (2007) and The Listening (2003). For his work, he has received the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Dargan has partnered with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to produce poetry programming at the White House and Library of Congress. He is currently an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at American University and the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine.


Phil Metres wins NEA Grant

Phil Metres (MFA, PhD; 2001) was recently awarded a 2013 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Congratulations Phil!
David J Daniels, MFA Poetry, 1999, won the Four Way Books Intro Prize

David J. Daniels (MFA Poetry, 1999) won the Four Way Books Intro Prize for Poetry this year, for his collection CLEAN (selected by D.A. Powell):

http://www.fourwaybooks.com/