KALAMAZOO—An internationally known poet-scholar has been named Western Michigan University's 2013 Distinguished Faculty Scholar. Dr. Daneen Wardrop has been selected to receive WMU's highest award for a faculty member and will be honored at the University's Academic Convocation at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in Dalton Center Recital Hall.
A WMU faculty member since 1990, Wardrop has paired the twin pillars of research and creative writing throughout her career, believing that the process of writing poetry is inextricable from the process of writing academic prose, as each refreshes and reinforces the other. Much of her early research centered on the luminary Amherst, Mass., poet Emily Dickinson, the subject of two of Wardrop's books. A third brought Dickinson together with two other major 19th century literary figures—Poe and Whitman.
The parallel influences of research and creative writing have become even more evident with her recent involvement in Civil War studies. In the past two years, Wardrop has finished a book-length research project concerning Civil War narratives and was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Creative Writing involving Civil War testimonies.
Wardrop holds two master's degrees from WMU and a doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. In addition to her three major academic texts, she has published one book of poetry, "The Odds of Being," which received positive reviews, as well as 27 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in her area of expertise. Her poems have been published in nearly 60 different publications in addition to winning her the coveted $25,000 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, for which she was chosen from among 1,063 poetry applicants. She also has been published widely in major journals in her field.
"Daneen Wardrop is an internationally recognized scholar whose work has been vastly influential," writes one nominator. "She is also a wonderful and talented poet. All of this belies the fact that she is also an excellent teacher-scholar, dedicating much of her professional energy to pass on her passion for reading, writing and literature." Another nominator singles out a review of "The Odds of Being" in which the reviewer proclaims "Nobody writes like that."
"That astonishing singularity of style is as true of professor Wardrop's prose as it is of her poetry—and it is never mere adornment," the nominator continues. "It is instead the audacious means of original thought coming into being and of an unforgettable voice entering, expanding, shifting and enriching the conversation among scholars." A colleague from another institution noted how, as an editor of a literary journal, she has had the opportunity to observe Wardrop's writing first-hand for a number of years and has included her work on her journal's pages on a regular basis.
"I have followed Daneen's work for some time," she writes. "Almost since the moment I began reading her work, I was struck by both its honesty and its experimental quality."
She adds that she is not alone, noting Wardrop's NEA poetry fellowship, as well as her publication in the finest literary magazines, as "long-deserved acknowledgement of her significance in the field."
Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award
Established in 1978, the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award recognizes those whose work constitutes a significant body of achievement, most of which has been accomplished while a faculty member at WMU. Nominations are sought campuswide for recipients, who also must be widely recognized beyond the University. The award includes a plaque and a $2,000 cash award. As an award recipient, she also will have $2,000 added to her base salary.