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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2004

English prof wins national poetry award

Poet Ann Fisher-Wirth’s work ‘Rain’ garners 2004 Rita Dove Poetry Award

July 6, 2004

Ann Fisher-Wirth

OXFORD, Miss. — University of Mississippi Professor of English Ann Fisher-Wirth, a widely published poet and environmental essayist, recently won the 2004 Rita Dove Poetry Award from the Salem College Center for Women Writers.

Fisher-Wirth’s literary work “Rain,” which she describes as “a prose poem about love,” is from her new, unpublished manuscript Dream Cabinet. Her poem, “October,” a sequence of elegies to her mother who died last year, was named an award finalist.

Fisher-Wirth is slated to give a reading of her work at Salem College (Winston-Salem, N.C.) this fall. The award carries a $1,000 prize and round-trip travel and lodging for the reading event.

“Although known more famously for its fiction, those who know the town know that Oxford is home to a vibrant and increasingly influential community of poets,” said Joseph Urgo, chair of the UM Department of English. “We’re pleased to learn that Ann Fisher-Wirth’s very fine poem, ‘Rain,’ has been selected as the 2004 winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Award. The award should lead others to discover the distinctive Mississippi voice of Fisher-Wirth, its earthy ecology and its grace.”

Fisher-Wirth, who has taught creative writing at UM for about 16 years, said she appreciates the recognition. “I was really pleased and honored — not to mention, surprised — to win the Rita Dove Poetry Award.”

She is the author of Blue Window (Archer Books, 2003), her first poetry collection, and The Trinket Poems (Wind, 2003), a runner-up in the 2003 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Chapbook Competition. With more than 70 poems in numerous literary and online journals, the professor recently completed two new book manuscripts of poems, titled Dream Cabinet and Carta Marina, in addition to other unpublished poems. Fisher-Wirth won the 2003 Malahat Review Long Poem Prize for the first section of Carta Marina.

Fisher-Wirth also is the author of William Carlos Williams and Autobiography: The Woods of His Own Nature and numerous essays on American literature and the environment.

In 2002-03, she held the Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, one of 36 such awards in 13 countries. She taught native Swedish students her speciality courses: American environmental literature, poetry and ecotheory.

Formerly on the faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and at Scripps and Pomona colleges in Claremont, Calif., Fisher-Wirth received a bachelor’s degree from Pomona and master’s and doctoral degrees from Claremont Graduate University in California.

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