2015 MFA grad, Edgar Kunz, receives NEA grant in poetry for 2017

Edgar Kunz, a 2015 graduate of Vanderbilt University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts(NEA) creative writing fellowship in poetry for 2017.

Kunz is one of only 37 writers selected from more than 1,800 eligible applicants for the fellowship.

Professor of English Kate Daniels, who directs the MFA program, noted that Kunz is the second Vanderbilt MFA poet to receive the prestigious award. “We were thrilled when Anders Carlson-Wee received the same fellowship in poetry for 2015 as a second-year student,” Daniels says. “Now we’re excited to have another one of our gifted poets receive this extraordinary recognition so early in his writing career.”

Originally from Massachusetts, Kunz is now a second-year Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. He earned a bachelor of arts from Goucher College.

His poems have been published in AGNIThe Missouri ReviewIndiana Review and Blackbird,among other publications. Kunz previously taught poetry workshops at Vanderbilt and received an Academy of American Poets Prize. His work, along with that of current MFA student Maxwell McDonough and 2014 MFA graduate Cara Dees, was selected for inclusion in Best New Poets 2016, a national competition for poets who have not yet published a book of poetry.

The NEA has an excellent record of supporting writers who have gone on to have impressive literary careers. “The NEA has an excellent record of supporting writers who have gone on to have impressive literary careers,” says Amy Stolls, the federal agency’s director of literature.

Through its creative writing fellowships program, the NEA gives writers the time and space to create, revise, conduct research and connect with readers. Applications are reviewed anonymously for their artistic excellence. Fellowships alternate between poetry and prose each year.

Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-NEWS

End of year student honors in creative writing

Academy of American Poets

Judge T.R. Hummer awarded the 2016 Academy of American Poets’ Prize to MFA student Tiana Clark for her poem “Soil Horizon.”  Honorable mention went to MFA student Max McDonough for his poem “Incunabula.”

Undergraduate Awards in Creative Writing

The 2016 Merrill Moore Award for poetry went to Caroline Saunders and the Merrill Moore Award for fiction went to Katherine Sowa.

MFA student Tiana Clark wins 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition

As winner of the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition, MFA student, Tiana Clark’s poetry chapbook, “Equilibrium,” will be published by Bull City Press this summer. As part of her prize, Clark will also attend the 2016 Frost Place Poetry Seminar as The Frost Place Chapbook Fellow; she will receive a one-week writing residency in The Frost Place, home of Robert Frost; and she will give a featured reading during the Seminar.

Tiana Clark, winner of the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize for her poem “Equilibrium,” is a first year MFA student in poetry, a Commons Writer-in-Residence, and the Poetry Editor for Nashville Review. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in such journals as Rattle, Best New Poets 2015,Crab Orchard Review, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Thrush, and The Offing.

Last year, the same award went to Anders Carlson-Wee (MFA 2015), then also a student in the Creative Writing Program.

About Equilibrium 2016 judge Afaa Michael Weaver wrote, “Equilibrium searches for that point where there is a balance, even as the poems display a consciousness and self awareness that belie that balance. The poems negotiate the colossal movement of hearts figuring and being figured by history. This is a voice that knows the intelligence of passion, that moves through and inside the questioning of who we are in the structures of things we give the power to name us until a song sends us out to question the territory. The poet moves with the exactness of math or physics, with the fearful knowledge of careful imbalances that would have us believe in equilibrium, and with the assuredness of art that knows all is change, that the semblance of order is creation, something we are given the gift of imitating in some small way. The poems in this collection summon the largeness, the volume of a voice that disembodies itself in order to search for the love that made it whole.”

Senior creative writing major Rani Banjarian wins national prize

Creative Writing major, senior Rani Banjarian, has won the Dell Magazine’s Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. Banjarian won the award for his story, “Lullabies in Arabic.”  Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine established the prize in order to honor Isaac Asimov, who began publishing science fiction stories when he was eighteen, and to encourage and recognize young writers. As part of his prize, Banjarian’s story will appear in the magazine. He will receive $500, as well as travel to and accommodations at the annual Conference on the Fantastic in Orlando, FL, where he will give a reading of his winning story.

First-year MFA student Tiana Clark wins 2015 Rattle Prize for poetry

First-year MFA student Tiana Clark has won the 2015 Rattle Prize for poetry for her poem “Equilibrium.”  The annual prize carries with it an award of $10,000.   The magazine received a record 4,022 entries or roughly 15,000 poems; Clark’s poem, selected in a blind review by the editors of Rattle, will appear in the Winter 2015 issue.