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Announcing the 2018-2019 WPR Creative Fellowship & Grant Recipients

The Woodberry Poetry Room is pleased to announce that Tracie Morris (of Brooklyn, New York) has been selected as the recipient of the 2018-2019 WPR Creative Fellowship for her project “The Impossible Man.” The committee will also be awarding a WPR Creative Grant to Tess Taylor (of El Cerrito, California).


Dr. Tracie Morris

The annual WPR Creative Fellowship invites poets, writers, multimedia artists, and scholars of contemporary poetry to undertake creative projects that would benefit from the resources available at the Poetry Room and to generate new work that further actualizes the WPR’s collections and contributes to the culture at large.

Previous recipients of the fellowship have included Eileen MylesFanny Howe, Erín Moure, and most recently Kate Colby. The WPR Creative Fellowships and Grants are generously funded by the Dr. Michael & Teresa Anagnostopoulos Fund.


Recipient: Tracie Morris  | Project: “The Impossible Man”

Performance artist, poet, and scholar Tracie Morris will be developing a performance poetry project on the 19th century Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge. Dr. Morris will conduct research that draws upon Houghton Library’s Bernth Lindfors Collection and the Woodberry Poetry Room’s collection of Shakespearean sound recordings to study textual and vocal cadences of renowned actors near the turn of the century.

Portrait of Ira Aldridge

Dr. Morris will complete the first draft of a literary work and sound recording on Aldridge during her residency.

Morris’s poetry collections include handholding: 5 kinds (Kore Press, 2016), Rhyme Scheme (2012), and Intermission (1998).

Her work is featured in numerous anthologies, including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind (2015) and The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). With Charles Bernstein, she co-edited Best American Experimental Writing (2016). Morris is Professor and Coordinator of Performance + Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

Recipient: Tess Taylor  | Project: “Roads Not Taken:
Pilgrimages with Poets & Poems”


Tess Taylor

While at the Woodberry Poetry Room, Tess Taylor will examine the papers and recordings of Elizabeth Bishop as part of a wider project about drafts and drafting. In particular, she will be examining Bishop’s attempts to write about race and racialization, placing them in the context of Bishop’s own sense of the margins of her own poetics, and her own accounts of (to steal a phrase) her own reticence to “write” what looks like disaster.

The San Francisco Chronicle called Tess Taylor’s first book, The Forage House, “stunning.” Her second book, Work & Days, was called “our moment’s Georgic” by critic Stephanie Burt and was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by The New York Times.

Taylor was recently a distinguished Fulbright to Queens University Belfast, and she is currently on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered.



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