UMW Arrington Poet-in-Residence Wins Prize for Poetry Collection

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University of Mary Washington Arrington Poet-in-Residence Allison Seay ’02 has received the 2012 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. The award is a collaboration between Persea Books and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project to sponsor the annual publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000 and publication of her collection by Persea Books. Seay won the prize for her collection of poetry, “To See the Queen,” scheduled for publication in April 2013. As the Arrington Poet-in-Residence, Seay teaches the advanced poetry workshop and the creative writing seminar in poetry at Mary Washington. A Midlothian, Va., native, she is the recipient of the 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, and two fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Fellowship From Virginia Commission for the Arts

Watkins Stephen06

Steve Watkins, professor of English at the University of Mary Washington, is a recipient of a 2011-2012 Artist Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The Virginia Commission of the Arts awards fellowships annually to artists residing in Virginia in recognition of creative excellence and to support their pursuit of artistic excellence. Watkins is one of four Virginia artists honored in the field of fiction. Each artist will receive a fellowship of $5,000. Watkins is the author of “Down Sand Mountain,” winner of the 2009 Golden Kite Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as “What Comes After,” a young adult novel published in 2011. His young adult novel “Juvie” is scheduled for publication in fall 2013. Watkins also is the author of a short story collection, “My Chaos Theory,” a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize and an honorable mention for the Library of Virginia Fiction Award. His non-fiction book “The Black O: … [Read more...]

Where Great Minds Get Creative

Colin Rafferty, professor of English

Fourteen students recently sat in a circle in a University of Mary Washington classroom, framed by the view of falling leaves outside the large window. Some students rested their hands on laptops, others opted for the traditional stacks of papers and books. A handful of reusable water bottles and half-empty coffee cups decorated the otherwise sparse table. With the precision of scientists and the careful eye of artists, the group spent nearly an hour dissecting the original work of two students in the class. The professor sat in the circle with the students, guiding the discussion at forks in the road, careful not to dictate the direction. Once the critique drew to a close, applause erupted, as if to pay homage to the artistic endeavor. The scene offered a glimpse into the intricate creative writing process where tone, structure and narrative reign. “We never get to see writers in the act of writing, the way we can with actors or musicians or dancers,” said Colin … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Milton Society Award

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor of English

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor in English at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive the prestigious James Holly Hanford Award from the Milton Society of America. The award recognizes a distinguished published article on John Milton, the 17th century poet and author of Paradise Lost, and will be shared this year by two recipients. LaBreche won the prize for his essay, “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce.” The essay, selected from among the more than 100 Miltonic articles published each year, appeared in English Literary History, a quarterly journal of The Johns Hopkins University for scholars and educators in English and American literature, literary history and theory. The Milton Society will present the award to LaBreche at the annual dinner meeting of the society at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle in January 2012. LaBreche currently is writing a book on Milton’s conception of liberty … [Read more...]