Monday, May 12, 2014

Major Awards for Two Queens University MFA Instructors

They're just piling up. Honor after honor after honor for Queens University faculty.
Now two instructors in the Queens MFA Program have won major awards.

Emily Fox Gordon

When Eudora Welty, Philip Roth and William Styron received Guggenheim Fellowships, they each traveled to Europe. But Emily Fox Gordon, one of this year's Guggenheim recipients, says all her travels will be internal. She's at work on a collection of personal essays, "The View from Now," which she says consider the experience of aging from different angles.
Gordon is the author of four books, including a novel, two memoirs and her most recent collection of personal essays, "Book of Days," a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. One of her memoirs is "Are You Happy: A Childhood Remembered."
About "Book of Days," O Magazine said: "These accessible yet sophisticated essays about modern life are so astute, you'll think the author has been hiding in your closet."
Fox, who is 66, says one of the wonderful things about receiving the fellowship is that it has changed the way she views the arc of her career, which she feared was headed downhill.  "The Guggenheim is a course correction," she says. "Now the trajectory seems to be going up." 
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 177 fellowships this year to scholars, writers and scientists, each worth $40,000, from a group of almost 3,000 applicants. The fellowships are awarded on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Another MFA instructor, Claudia Rankine, a poet and playwright, has been awarded the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. Rankine was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is the author of several collections of
Claudia Rankine
poetry, including "Don't Let Me Be Lonely," from Graywolf Press in 2004. The Jackson Poetry Prize is given annually to an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition.
In their citation, judges Mark Strand, Tracy K. Smith and David St. John, said: "The moral vision of Claudia Rankine's poetry is astounding. In a body of work that pushes the boundaries of the contemporary lyric, Rankine has managed to make space for meditation and vigorous debate upon some of the most relevant and troubling social themes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."
In addition, they said, Rankine's collections "invite the reader to empathize with the social 'other,' the victims of violent aggression committed in hatred and ignorance, and with speakers subject to a more generalized American malaise."