One book. Two grants. One month. Mary Baldwin University Associate Professor of English Sarah Kennedy was recently selected for a $20,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, both awarded within a few weeks of publishing her fourth collection of poems, Consider the Lilies.
“It is perfect timing,” said Kennedy, whose poems have previously earned awards from The Florida Review and The Nebraska Review. “The grants will be very valuable to me as I work on a new project of writing historical poems.” Kennedy was selected as one of 45 recipients from a pool of 1,600 poets for the national award.
Kennedy’s current project, historical poems about witches, mystics and saints, has already taken her abroad to research medieval towns and landmarks. She plans to use the grant money to travel more extensively in Europe, specifically Wales, England and Ireland.
“There is something intangible about being in a sacred space, which is what I consider many of the places where these figures lived and died,” Kennedy said. “It fires my imagination in a way that researching long-distance does not.”
Kennedy is also the co-editor of an anthology of Virginia poets and her poetry books have won the Cleveland State University Press and Elixir Press awards.