Arts and Culture / News

Two DU poets win national arts grants

Sandra Meek

Sandra Meek is one of two poets with DU ties to win a literature fellowship from the NEA. Photo: Courtesy of Sandra Meek

Two poets with DU ties were among 42 poets from across the nation awarded literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in November 2010.

Sandra Meek (PhD poetry ’95) and current PhD student Jennifer Denrow each were awarded $25,000, as were the 40 other grant recipients.

According to the NEA website, the grants “encourage the production of new works of literature by allowing writers the time and means to write.”

Meek, an English professor at Berry College in Rome, Ga., plans to use the money to return to southern Africa — where she served in the Peace Corps 20 years ago — to work on her fifth book of poetry, An Ecology of Elsewhere.

Denrow, whose first full-length book of poetry, California, comes out in April from Four Way Books, plans to use her grant to travel and write as well. A native of Kansas City, Kan., she is in her third year in DU’s PhD creative writing program.

The NEA’s annual creative writing fellowships alternate between poetry and prose. The agency received 1,063 eligible applications for the 2010 grants.

Check out these poems from the awardees.:

Acacia karroo Hayne (White Thorn) by Sandra Meek

Ivory monastery, you invite
retreat, your quills without ink, your needles
hollow; you are slow exhalations
of whistled breath, both cut
and seam, the noteless stems of music a girl
scores into her arms; you are the soul’s
razored canister. Antennae
of many voices, you tune to the milky ships
of distant planets, your fray of ghosts
without waists, without wrists, a crystalline heart
slivered to fossil trails
of shooting stars; you are the desert’s
drained hourglass, its whittled
vanishing, you are the bristling unlit incense of fog
and sea-froth, your liver-spotted sleeves
the stiff papery threads
of a petrified fountain, village cookfires’ lingering veil 
honed to narrow vials, to spines of moonlight
echoing the body’s
deepest wands, the cuneiform
of longing, how you avoided pain
by becoming its measure, your starved scepters clinging
to anyone passing.

First published in Ecotone 2010 (Fifth Anniversary Issue): 191.

If Reflection by Jennifer Denrow

You can put anything in the sky.

You can put yourself in the sky.

And if that doesn’t work,

You can use a bird.

There is so much to the world.

Stop taking apart the sky.

I can’t.

When I tell people about the sky

They say, yes, we know.


Ed. Note: Poems used with permission from authors.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *