2015 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship to MFA student, Anders Carlson-Wee

Anders Carlson-Wee, second year MFA student in poetry, has been awarded a 2015 Creative Writing Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of 36 awards given in the annual competition. The grant, for $25,000, allows recipients to “set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.”

Mark Jarman, Centennial Professor of English, noted, “This is a great honor for Anders and for the Creative Writing Program and the English Department and the College of Arts and Science and Vanderbilt.”

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The university-wide announcement follows:

National Endowment for the Arts awards fellowship to Vanderbilt MFA student

by  | Posted on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 — 1:18 PM

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a literary arts fellowship to Anders Carlson-Wee, a second-year poetry student in Vanderbilt’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Carlson-Wee, a former professional rollerblader, will receive a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry. This $25,000, non-matching fellowship allows published writers to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and career advancement.

“I am thrilled for Anders and our stellar graduate program in creative writing,” said John M. Sloop, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science. “The NEA literary arts fellowship is an extraordinary achievement, recognizing Anders’ promising future as a gifted young poet.”

Kate Daniels, a professor of English who directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing, noted that Carlson-Wee was one of only 36 recipients selected from more than 1,600 poets.

“Anders is an extraordinarily gifted, hard-working and focused young poet who challenges himself at every opportunity,” Daniels said. Although poets tend to be known, especially in their younger years, for their disinclination to conform to social norms, Anders’ real-life experience is more unconventional than that of most of his peers. He has had an entire other life beyond and besides poetry — wilderness survival, freight train hopping and professional rollerblading.”

Carlson-Wee was raised in northern Minnesota and earned his undergraduate degree from Fairhaven College of Western Washington University. He is the winner of Ninth Letter’s 2014 Poetry Award and New Delta Review’s 2014 Editors’ Choice Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Missouri ReviewWest BranchBlackbirdThe JournalNinth Letter,LinebreakThe Paris-AmericanBest New Poets 2012 and 2014, and more.

“Anders’ poems are remarkable for many qualities, but perhaps most of all for their delicate, yet intense imagery, and the unusual, arresting manner in which he brings his images together with direct statement and narrative clarity,” Daniels said. “The effect can be unforgettable — haunting and straightforward simultaneously. How he achieves this is part of his remarkable poetic gift.”

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds and promotes artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The award to Carlson-Wee was included in the agency’s first fiscal year 2015 announcement of $29 million for grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America, and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing.

Vanderbilt’s MFA Program, housed within the Department of English, continues to be ranked among the top MFA Programs in the country by Poets and Writers magazine. It ranks number one for selectivity.

The prize-winning creative writing faculty includes fiction writers Tony Earley, Lorraine Lopez, Lorrie Moore and Nancy Reisman; poets Mark Jarman, Kate Daniels, Rick Hilles, Beth Bachmann and Sandy Solomon; and nonfiction writer Peter Guralnick.

Contact:
Ann Marie Deer Owens, (615) 322-NEWS
annmarie.owens@vanderbilt.edu

Prizes and Fellowships Awarded in Spring 2014

Academy of American Poets Prize

Simone Wolff, a first year graduate student in poetry, has won the 2014 Academy of American Poets Prize for her poem, “Semper Augustus.” Second year graduate student in poetry, Edgar Kunz, won honorable mention for his poem,   “Dundalk.”  Poet David Wojahn was the judge.

The Writing Studio MFA Graduate Consultant Prize

Ann Silverstein, first year MFA student in fiction, and Alicia Brandiwie, first year MFA student in poetry, split the Writing Studio MFA Graduate Consultant Prize.

The Sedberry Prize for Poetry

Sara Strong, second year MFA student in poetry, won the Sedberry Prize.

The Guy Goffe Means Prize for Fiction

Reid Douglass, second year MFA student in fiction, won the Guy Goffe Means Prize.

The Merrill Moore Prizes

Corey Kollbocker, a senior in Arts and Sciences, won the Merrill Moore Prize for Fiction, and Malcolm Friend, also a senior in Arts and Sciences, won the Merrill Moore Prize for Poetry.

Third Year Fellowships in the MFA Program

Ann Charlton, second year MFA student in poetry, has been appointed Curb Creative Writing Fellow for 2014-15;  and Edgar Kunz and Lee Conell have been named Third Year Fellows in Creative Writing, Department of English, for 2014-2015, Kunz in poetry and Conell in fiction.

Recent MFA grads receive Pushcart Prize special mentions

Short stories by two recent MFA graduates, Claire Burgess (MFA 2011) and Matt Baker (MFA 2012), received special mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize anthology; Burgess’ “Upper Middle Class Houses,” originally appeared in Third Coast, and Baker’s  “A Cruel Gap-Toothed Boy,” in Missouri Review.

Recent MFA grad, Kendra DeColo, wins 2013 Saturnalia Book Award

Kendra DeColo

Kendra DeColo, who received her MFA from Vanderbilt in 2011, has won the 2013 Saturnalia Book Award for her first collection of poetry.   DeColo’s book, Crooked Hope, will be published by Saturnalia Books and will receive a $2,000 award.  Poet Yusef Komunyakaa was the judge.

Kate Daniels awarded Guggenheim

Poet Kate Daniels, Director of the Creative Writing Program, has been awarded a Guggenheim fellowship for 2013-2014.

Daniels, professor of English, will devote part of her fellowship to writing new poems based on archival research into the records of Eastern State Hospital. Established in Virginia in 1770 as The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, Eastern State Hospital, which remains in operation today, was the first public institution for the mentally ill in the United States.

“Part of my interest in capturing this subject matter is related to two of my classes: ‘The Art of Medical Writing’ and ‘Why Write: Perspectives on Literary Creativity,’” Daniels said. “Both of these investigate poetic language, literary creativity, and the psychology of creative writers.”

Daniels will also be considering through poetry the many connections between medicine/illness/health care and creative writing. She will focus in particular on bipolar disease, including its prevalence among poets, and she will be looking for new ways of understanding the role of bipolar disease in linguistic creativity and literary production.

Daniels, who directs Vanderbilt’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, is an affiliated faculty member in the Center for Medicine, Health and Society. She previously served as associate dean in the College of Arts and Science. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Virginia, as well as a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. Recent poems of Daniels, who came to Vanderbilt in 1994, have been published in Best American Poetry 2010 and Best American Poetry 2008. Her books include A Walk in Victoria’s Secret (LSU 2010), Four Testimonies (LSU, 1998) and The Niobe Poems (Pittsburgh, 1989). She has received the Pushcart Prize, the James Dickey Prize and the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ Hanes Award for Poetry, among others.