Tanya Grae and Christopher Michaels win Edward H. and Marie C. Kingsbury Fellowship

The Department of English’s top honor for doctoral students during its annual awards ceremony is the Edward H. and Marie C. Kingsbury Graduate Fellowship. Tanya Grae and Christopher Michaels are the 2019 recipients, and both expressed appreciation for the recognition.

TG_CM.jpg“Winning this award is definitely a boost of confidence,” says Grae, who is earning her Ph.D. in poetry and creative writing. “I study and work alongside an amazingly brilliant group of writers and scholars, so the honor feels great but is also humbling.”

Grae’s first collection, Undoll, is forthcoming in September 2019 from YesYes Books and was a National Poetry Series finalist. She is the recipient of two Academy of American Poets Prizes, and her work has been published in Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, AGNI, Prairie Schooner, andPost Road, among others.

“The fellowship is essentially the gift of uninterrupted time,” Grae says. “I’m grateful for it, because I’ve been working on a collection of essays, as well as writing poems for my dissertation, my second book.”

For Michaels, this was his fourth time applying for the award and he says not only is winning the award a wonderful feeling, but the accolade also validates his dissertation work.

“I had set the Kingsbury application due date as my deadline for completing the first chapter of my dissertation,” he says, “and since it was the longest piece I submitted and the only thing I hadn’t submitted before, winning felt like a strong affirmation of the project I’m currently working on.”

Michaels is in his final year as a Ph.D. student in post-1900 literature with a focus on modernism, ecocriticism, and critical theory. He also is grateful for the important element of time that the award allows him to work on his dissertation, Terraforming Modernism.

“I love teaching, but the award gives me a great opportunity to focus on finishing my dissertation, submitting things for publication, and preparing my materials for the job market,” he says.

Michaels also has an article forthcoming in Understanding Flusser, Understanding Modernism, a volume in the series Understanding Philosophy, Understanding Modernism, edited by English Professor Stan Gontarski and English department alumni Paul Ardoin and Laci Mattison. English Professor Aaron Jaffe is one of the editors for Understanding Flusser, Understanding Modernism.

The Kingsbury winners enthusiastically credit the English faculty for the support they give, which helps in their success.

“I have received support from colleagues and faculty on so many occasions and in so many different ways that it would take too long to satisfactorily account for it all here,” Michaels says. “I’m very thankful to be surrounded by so many smart and talented people.”

Grae acknowledges her mentors English Professors James Kimbrell, Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, Andrew Epstein, and Bob Shacochis for their time, attention, and high expectations, “to the point of being indelible.”

“In fact, all of my professors have been generous with their knowledge and talent,” she says. “As for my friends and colleagues, we push each other, we’re competitive. This is a top-ranked program. However, when one of us is published in a journal or has a book accepted, we all celebrate. We all win.”