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Vanderbilt poet awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

by Apr. 9, 2016, 7:29 PM

Beth Bachmann

Beth Bachmann, a Vanderbilt University writer-in-residence, is among 178 scholars, artists and scientists in the United States and Canada to be awarded a 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

Bachmann, who teaches in Vanderbilt University’s highly ranked MFA Program in Creative Writing, was one of 10 recipients of poetry fellowships. She was selected from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants in the foundation’s 92nd competition.

“I am thrilled that the Guggenheim Foundation has recognized Beth Bachmann’s gifts by awarding her this highly coveted fellowship,” said Lauren Benton, dean of the College of Arts and Science and Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Professor of History. “As an admirer of Bachmann’s subtle, luminous poems, I know how fortunate we are to count her as a member of our exceptionally talented creative writing community.”

Bachmann plans to use the Guggenheim funds to complete her third book of poetry, Cease, a book of poems about peace as a process. Poems from Cease are forthcoming or have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares and Poetry Magazine. They have also been featured online at World Literature Today and NPR’s “On Being” blogs.

Bachmann’s two previous poetry collections are Temper (2009) and Do Not Rise (2015), both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press’ Pitt Poetry Series. Temper, a collection of poems about her sister’s unsolved murder, received the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Poetry Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.

Do Not Rise, a book about the psychological effect of traumatic memories on soldiers and others affected by war, was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award.

“Beth Bachmann is one of the most extravagantly talented of younger-generation American poets,” said Kate Daniels, a professor of English and 2013 Guggenheim recipient who directs the MFA program. “Her presence in our Vanderbilt community is a cause for celebration, as is the Guggenheim Fellowship’s fine acknowledgement of her work. Spanning the territory between moral philosophy and literature, Beth’s lyrical treatments of the profound but ineffable spiritual and psychological ills that result from our cruelties and violence towards each other offer new ways to understand ourselves and interrogate our motives. Simply put, her poems are stunning; her poetry is important.”

Bachmann was born and raised near Philadelphia, where her father, a noncombat veteran, worked as a shoe-shiner and locker-room attendant. She was educated at Loyola University of Maryland, the Johns Hopkins University and Concordia University in Montreal.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $334 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, many of whom have gone on to receive other internationally recognized honors.

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