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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2004

English professor, poet Ann Fisher-Wirth awarded state arts commission grant

Oct. 14, 2004

OXFORD, Miss. —Award-winning poet Ann Fisher-Wirth, professor of English at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded a $4,000 fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

A widely published author and environmental essayist, Fisher-Wirth is among 188 artists and arts programs across the state to receive a grant during the commissions first round of funding for fiscal year 2005, amounting to just over $1 million.

“It is such an honor and encouragement to have one’s work recognized in this way,” said Fisher-Wirth. “It is a privilege, too, to be a part of the literary community at the University of Mississippi, in Oxford and around the state.”

Fisher-Wirth, who has taught at UM for about 16 years, said she hopes to use the MAC grant to help advance her writing. With more than 70 poems in numerous literary and online journals, the professor recently completed two manuscripts of poems, one titled Carta Marina and the other Dream Cabinet, which she is seeking to have published. She plans to continue to craft poems for another work, tentatively titled Mississippi.

“Ann Fisher-Wirth’s poetry is Mississippi organic, responding in a variety of ways to the landscape with a heightened sensibility that is at once esoteric and grounded in the here and now,” said Joseph Urgo, chair of the UM Department of English. “She brings these qualities to her classroom, where students find the kind of intellectual stimulation we associate with the very best teachers. We’re pleased by the recognition from the Mississippi Arts Commission.”

Fisher-Wirth won the 2003 Malahat Review Long Poem Prize for the first section of Carta Marina. In July, she won the 2004 Rita Dove Poetry Award from the Salem College Center for Women Writers for a prose poem from Dream Cabinet. The honor carried a $1,000 prize and featured Fisher-Wirth in a public reading. She also has received a five-week writing residency at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, Calif., which begins in May.

“In the meantime, I will be writing whenever I can, teaching and giving readings,” Fisher-Wirth said.

She is also 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. Her book William Carlos Williams and Autobiography: The Woods of His Own Nature (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989) contains numerous essays on American literature and the environment.

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.

The Mississippi Arts Commission is a state agency funded by the Legislature, National Endowment for the Arts, Wallace Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and other public and private sources.

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