Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Prize-Winning Poets

Three Tennessee poets are awarded NEA grants in literature

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded creative-writing fellowships in poetry to three Tennessee poets—Anders Carlson-Wee, Melissa Range, and Bobby C. Rogers. The awards, which “enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement,” according to the NEA , are for $25,000 each.

Carlson-Wee, a second-year graduate student in the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, is a native of northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of Ninth Letter’s 2014 Poetry Award and New Delta Review’s 2014 Editors’ Choice Prize, and his work has appeared in The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Best New Poets 2012 and Best New Poets 2014, among others. “Anders’s poems are remarkable for their delicate yet intense imagery, and the unusual, arresting manner in which he brings his images together with direct statement and narrative clarity,” wrote Kate Daniels, director of Vanderbilt’s M.F.A. program, in an email to Chapter 16. “The effect can be unforgettable—haunting and straightforward simultaneously. How he achieves this is part of his remarkable poetic gift.”

Originally from Elizabethton, Tennessee, in the far-eastern part of the state, Melissa Range is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her first book, Horse and Rider (Texas Tech University Press, 2010), won the 2010 Walt McDonald Prize in Poetry, and her recent work has appeared in 32 Poems, Image, New England Review, and other journals. She now lives in Wisconsin, where she is an assistant professor of English at Lawrence University. Her former professor at UTK, poet Marilyn Kallet, writes in an email that Range’s book “stays near me. Her craft is both flexible and impeccable. I’m thrilled to hear her good news!”

Bobby C. Rogers grew up in West Tennessee and was educated at Union University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. His first book, Paper Anniversary, won the 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize at the University of Pittsburgh Press. Rogers is a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He was also a student in Marilyn Kallet’s class: “He was the first ‘real’ poet I worked with,” remembers Kallet. “I thought he was brilliant then, and he has gone on to publish a superb book, and to win national awards. I’m proud to call him a friend and a colleague, and all the more to hear news of his NEA award.”

To read a poem by Anders Carlson-Wee, click here. To read a poem by Melissa Range, click here. To read a poem by Bobby C. Rogers, click here.