Categories:  Faculty

UIC poet awarded NEA fellowship

Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves was awarded a 2013 NEA creative writing grant for outstanding poets. Photo: Chris Strong

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a literature fellowship to a University of Illinois at Chicago poet.

Roger Reeves, UIC assistant professor of English, was one of 40 winners from across the country to receive a 2013 NEA creative writing grant for outstanding poets.

Reeves will use the $25,000 award to investigate the Rock Springs Massacre, an 1885 racial labor riot in Wyoming, when white miners killed 28 Chinese miners over wages and other issues.

Reeves plans to visit Rock Springs for research and writing inspiration while considering its ethnic and regional connections to racial violence of that period.

“I am particularly interested in this massacre’s relationship with the rise of lynching and terrorism in the South in the late-19th century,” he says.

Inspired by Shakespeare, rapper Lil Wayne, poet John Berryman’s “The Dream Songs,” and Ralph Ellison’s novel “Invisible Man,” together with the genres of folk music and minstrelsy, Reeves is currently working on a collection of sonnets that deal with the emotional and intellectual legacy of lynching.

Reeves’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, and the Cincinnati Review, among others. His poem “Kletic of Walt Whitman” was selected in 2009 for Best New Poets, an annual anthology of 50 poems from emerging writers.

At UIC since 2011, Reeves received his doctorate in poetry, poetics, and literary criticism from the University of Texas.

The National Endowment for the Arts, which was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.

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