D.A. Powell, associate professor of English, is one of three USF Guggenheim Fellowship winners for 2011.
Three University of San
faculty have been named John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship
winners for 2011.
The triple honor brings USF’s Guggenheim-winning faculty to
four, including Professor of sociology Joshua Gamson’s 2009 win.
“I am so happy that we have been able to recruit these
outstanding teacher-scholars whose writing promises to have a major impact on
society, whether through poetry, fiction, or nonfiction work,” said Jennifer
Turpin, USF provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Calling it a time to celebrate USF faculty, Turpin described
each of this year’s Guggenheim winners – Richard Leo, associate professor of
law, D.A. Powell, associate professor of English, and David Vann, associate
professor in the MFA creative writing program – as gifted writers that have had
a major impact on USF students who have benefited by studying with such major
Awarded to just 180 candidates from almost 3,000 applicants
in 2011, Guggenheim Fellowships are grants to selected individuals meant to
provide fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much
creative freedom as possible. Fellows may spend their grant in any manner they
Leo, and writer Tom Wells, who coauthored the award-winning The
Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four,
plan to use their grant to research a new book, The Innocence
Revolution. The new book will be a history
of the founding of the Innocence Project and the
consequential exoneration of hundreds of wrongly-convicted U.S. prisoners as a
result of DNA evidence.
Powell, the winner of the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry
Award for his book Chronic and Harvard
University’s Phi Beta Kapp guest poet in 2010,
will use his grant to pay for research trips to California's Central Valley for his new book of poetry.
“All I know right now is that several of the poems are
landscapes and some are about desire and mortality,” Powell said. The
fellowship will give him time to complete more poems for the book and to start
to visualize how and which poems fit together as a book, Powell said.
International best-selling author and winner of France’s
Prix Médicis in 2010, Vann will use his grant to work on his sixth novel, Dirt. This new work of fiction will draw on Vann’s family
history in California’s Central Valley, relating the main character Galen’s
pursuit of spiritual transcendence in the New Age movement.
“The novel is often comic because of Galen’s belief,
describing his fire walking, etheric surgery, meditation, authentic movement,
sweat lodges, and even trying to walk on water,” Vann said.