Poet Larissa Szporluk named Guggenheim Fellow
To the roll of Guggenheim Fellows that includes poets and writers such as W.H. Auden, Derek Walcott and Eudora Welty, add the name of Larissa Szporluk, creative writing.
Appointed for poetry, Szporluk is among the 180 Fellows chosen this year from almost 3,000 applicants in the 85th annual competition for the U.S. and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recently announced. The Fellows include artists, scientists and scholars.
Szporluk plans to use the award to complete her fifth book of poetry, tentatively titled Rogue's March. “The term refers to the derisive tune that is played when a soldier is dismissed from military service,” she explained. “I was very attracted to the idea of a form of negative music being created for someone's banishment.
“I have also long been attracted to the histories of writers in exile—Dante, Machiavelli, Pushkin, to name a few. So I combined those interests and developed characters who have been forced to leave society and must reinvent themselves in solitude. The ‘march’ is the trail of shame and confusion they leave in their wake, self-imposed as well as socially. The poems are primarily dramatic monologues about identity and nonhuman forms of attachment.”
Szporluk has been teaching full time at BGSU since 2000. On faculty improvement leave this semester and next, she was previously director of the Creative Writing Program and coordinator of graduate studies. In 2005, she was a visiting professor at Cornell University.
Since the publication of her chapbook Prowler’s Universe in Graywolf Press’s Take Three Series (1996), she has gone on to publish four books of poetry: Dark Sky Question, winner of the Barnard Poetry Prize (Beacon Press, 1998); Isolato, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize (University of Iowa Press, 2000); The Wind, Master Cherry, The Wind (Alice James Books, 2003), and Embryos and Idiots (Tupelo Press, 2007). Her work is included in Best American Poetry 2001, New American Voices, 20th-Century American Poetry, Contemporary Poetry in the U.S. and numerous other anthologies.
In 2003, Szporluk received a National Endowment for the Arts grant as well as an Ohio Arts Council grant, and was invited to participate in the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
In 2005-06, she participated as one of three poets in the Georgia Literary Circuit tour, giving poetry readings at numerous colleges and universities throughout the state of Georgia. She was also an invited reader at the 2006 Belgrade International Book Fair, where she gave a talk on the imagination in contemporary American poetry and read her work.
Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $273 million in fellowships to about 16,700 people, among them scores of Nobel, Pulitzer and other prizewinners. The complete list of Fellows may be viewed at http://www.gf.org/.
May 11, 2009