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Michelle Boisseau Selected for Guggenheim Fellowship

UMKC English Professor Michelle Boisseau has been awarded a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Boisseau, a poet who teaches in UMKC’s MFA program, is senior editor of BkMk Press and is contributing editor of New Letters. She is the recipient of two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Over my writing life, I have worked to explore and refine the resources of metaphor, rhythm and form to open ways into how we experience time, personally in its fleetingness, and also publicly, in how we live simultaneously with others and with the traces of those who came before us,” Boisseau said about her work. “Poetry has a sacred duty to connect things that don’t seem connected, to dig down and chart the subterranean rivers. It is a way of knowing, or trying to know.”

The Guggenheim Fellowship is considered one of the most prestigious and competitive awards. The Guggenheim Foundation received 3,000 applications from the United States and Canada, and selected 173 fellowships for 2017. Each fellow receives around $40,000.

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” said Foundation President Edward Hirsch in a statement. “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group.”

Boisseau has published five books of poetry — Among the GorgonsA Sunday in God-Years, Trembling AirUnderstory, and No Private Life — and co-authored the textbook Writing Poems, now in its 8th edition, with Hadara Bar-Nadav and Robert Wallace. Boisseau has been teaching at UMKC since 1995.


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