Sandra Meek (Botswana 1989–91), who is the Poetry Editor of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum, director of the Georgia Poetry Circuit, co-founding Editor of Ninebark Press, and Professor of English, Rhetoric and Writing in the Department of English at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, writes me that she just received a $25,000 grant for poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the only recipient from Georgia to be selected for the Creative Writing Fellowship, which alternates annually between poetry and prose.
NEA grant selection is made through an anonymous review process, and the fellowships encourage the production of new works of literature by allowing writers the time and means to write. Last year the NEA received 1,064 applications and gave out 42 fellowships nationwide. Sandra was the only poet selected from Georgia and one of a handful in the Southeast.
Meek was granted a Fall 2011 sabbatical from Berry to finish her fifth book of poems entitled An Ecology of Elsewhere. This fifth book is also the project which earned her the NEA fellowship. Meek’s fourth book of poems, Road Scatter, is set to be published by Persea Books.
Praising her, the Chair of the English, Rhetoric and Writing Department, Lara Whelan, wrote, “We are proud to have such a distinguished poet as part of our faculty. Sandra is an award-winning poet whose work is regularly published in some of the most selective literary journals in the country.”
In 2006, Sandra was awarded the Dorset Prize, the largest book-publication prize in poetry, for her collection of poems, Biogeography. Her other works include two other collections of her poetry, Burn (2005) and Nomadic Foundations (2002). By the way, in all the promotional papers that the college’s PR department publish, they did not mention that Sandra also won the Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Poetry in 2003 for Nomadic Foundations.
With the help of all these publications and awards she was recently promoted from associate to full professor at Barry College.
Sandra is using the grant money to return to Botswana, saying, “My writing is focused on place, and travel is an important part of that.”
But before that, in early February, she will be one of the panelists at the AWP (American Writers & Writers Programs) Conference in Washington, D.C.