WMU News

WMU poet wins Whiting Award

November 3, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Poet Nancy Eimers, Western Michigan University assistant professor of English, was named a recipient of a 1998 Whiting Writers' Award, Thursday, Oct. 29, and is one of 10 writers who will receive the $30,000 cash prize.

Eimers was one of five poets selected for the awards, which are presented by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. Two fiction writers, two nonfiction writers and one playwright were also chosen.

Receiving the Whiting Award was "an incredible surprise," Eimers says. "I was extremely happy and very, very gratified. It means that somebody is reading and appreciating my work. It also makes it possible for my writing in the future."

Foundation officials say most award winners choose to use the cash prize to buy themselves time to write without distraction. Eimers, who is currently teaching two courses, will be no different.

"That was the first thing I thought of," says the poet who is currently working on a collection of poems. "I thought in terms of time, chunks of time to devote to my project. The award allows you to be less divided in what you are doing."

Created 14 years ago, the Whiting Writers' Awards program has distributed more than $4 million to emerging writers of exceptional talent and promise. All nominations are made anonymously. Past recipients of the award include Jorie Graham, Tony Kushner, Tobias Wolff and Alice McDermott. Eimers is the second WMU faculty member to receive a Whiting award. Stuart Dybek, professor of English, received the award in its inaugural year in 1985.

Eimers is the author of two collections of poetry, "No Moon" and "Destroying Angel." Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines including Triquarterly, Poetry Northwest, Paris Review and Crazyhorse. Among her earlier awards are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and two Creative Arts Faculty Research Fellowships. She earned her doctoral degree at the University of Houston and master's degrees at the University of Arizona and Indiana University.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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