Director of Creative Writing Davis McCombs Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
Poet Davis McCombs, director of the Program in Creative Writing and Translation in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to support his creative work.
Out of nearly 3,000 applicants throughout the U.S. and Canada, McCombs is one of 173 scholars, artists and scientists honored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation this year. Among the 11 poets recognized, McCombs joins Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo and Claudia Rankine, recipient of a 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant and author of the critically acclaimed Citizen.
According to the foundation website, Guggenheim Fellowships "are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts." The selection process is highly competitive and the judging criteria rigorous within each field.
"These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best," said Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation, in an official news release. "It's an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do."
"We're tremendously proud of Davis and gratified to see him recognized among some of the finest artists in his field," said Dorothy Stephens, chair of the Department of English. "He joins an elite cohort, not just at the U of A but across the nation."
McCombs is the author of three collections of poetry. His most recent volume, lore, won the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize and was published by the University of Utah Press last year. His first book, Ultima Thule, was chosen by W. S. Merwin as the winner of the 1999 Yale Series of Younger Poets. Dismal Rock, his second, won the Dorset Prize from Tupelo Press and was later awarded the 2008 Eric Hoffer Award and the Kentucky Literary Award.
McCombs won the Porter Fund Literary Prize in 2015 and is the recipient of fellowships from the Ruth Lilly Poetry Foundation, the Arkansas Arts Council, the Walter F. Laman Public Library and the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Oxford American, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies.
This is the third Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to faculty within the U of A Department of English. Professor Robert Cochran received the fellowship in 1988 for his work in folklore. Geoffrey Brock, professor of poetry and translation in the creative writing program, was honored in 2005.
Founded in 1966, the U of A Program in Creative Writing and Translation in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences consistently ranks in the top 40 M.F.A. programs nationwide, according to Poets & Writers magazine. The Atlantic Monthly named the U of A among the "Top Five Most Innovative" M.F.A. programs in the nation. Noteworthy graduates include Barry Hannah, C.D. Wright, Lucinda Roy and Nic Pizzolatto.
Allison Hammond, assistant director
Program in Creative Writing and Translation
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The poetry prize includes $1,000 and publication of a book of poetry written by a Latina/o writer and published by the U of A Press.