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Wardrop earns $25,000 NEA poetry fellowship

Dec. 2, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Daneen Wardrop, professor of English, has been awarded a prestigious Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The announcement comes on the heels of fellow WMU English Professor Jaimy Gordon winning the 2010 National Book Award for fiction.

Photo of Western Michigan University's Daneen Wardrop.Wardrop was one of 42 writers from across the country and one of two from Michigan to receive the Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry, which includes a $25,000 grant. They were selected through an anonymous review of more than 10,000 manuscripts from 1,063 applicants.

The NEA Literature Fellowships program encourages the production of new works of literature by allowing writers the time and means to write, conduct research, travel and in general advance their careers. The program operates on a two-year cycle, with fellowships in poetry and prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) awarded in alternating years.

"Our Creative Writing Fellowships represent one of the National Endowment for the Arts' most direct investments in American creativity," NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said when announcing this year's recipients Nov. 23.

Wardrop will use her fellowship and grant money to write and edit her work, including finishing a poetry manuscript about the Civil War. She already has written one book of poems, "The Odds of Being," published in 2008.

"The Odds of Being is an original; nobody writes like this, and Daneen Wardrop's poems seem to come from a quiet and loving necessity," Jean Valentine, winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry, said of the text. "Among other things, this book is a moving meditation of delight in a new daughter. And as a happy side effect, reading these poems changes the way your mind hears words, sees landscapes, reflects on history; it is a wonderful flowering."

Wardrop's poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, and she has received several honors for her creative writing. Among those honors are the 2006 Poetry Society of America Robert H. Winner Award, judged by Jean Valentine; the 2005 Bentley Prize for Poetry from Seattle Review; two Pushcart prize nominations; and the 2007 Gerald Cable Book Award.

As a teacher and scholar, Wardrop's explores American literature from the 19th century through the present. She focuses her research on Civil War nursing narratives, slave narratives, and material culture and labor topics.

Wardrop also is the author of many scholarly articles as well as two books of literary criticism: "Emily Dickinson's Gothic: Goblin with a Gauge" published in 1996 and "Word, Birth and Culture in the Poetry of Poe, Whitman and Dickinson" published in 2002.

Wardrop resides in Kalamazoo. She earned a Master of Fine Arts from WMU and a doctorate in American literature and poetry from the University of Virginia. Wardrop joined the WMU English faculty in 1990.

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Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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