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UW-Eau Claire English Faculty Win Coveted Fellowships for 2005

RELEASED: April 1, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Two University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire English faculty members have won $8,000 Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowships for their work in literary arts.

UW-Eau Claire faculty who won the coveted fellowships through the 2005 Artist Fellowship Awards program are Max Garland, associate professor of English, for poetry; and Allyson Loomis, assistant professor of English, for fiction.

Both faculty members are talented, respected writers, as well as exceptional teachers, said Marty Wood, chair of the English department.

"Allyson Loomis is already a successful, highly accomplished writer with a captivating style, an impressive publication record and a superb talent as a teacher," Wood said. "Her writing is a pleasure to read, rich with keen insights into people and their obsessions, not satirizing us so much as commiserating with us all. Her students speak enthusiastically of her ability to challenge them as writers and thinkers."

Loomis also serves as faculty adviser to the student arts and creative-writing organization, NOTA.

"Max Garland is a gifted poet with an uncanny ability to make his audience feel that he has told a hard truth in just the right way," Wood said. "His poetry often visits the realm of spirit and soul, and uses familiar and deeply stirring images to evoke strong feelings of recognition and complicity. His public readings are invariably well attended and enthusiastically received."

The statewide fellowship program provides awards to outstanding professional artists in recognition of their significant contributions to their field. The $8,000 awards are to be used to create new work, complete work in progress, and/or pursue activities that contribute to their artistic growth.

"I am honored and very happy to have received such a generous grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board," Loomis said. "It will afford me some time to do my creative work. Writers need time — sustained chunks of it — in order to dwell in the dream worlds of their stories long enough to see them vividly. It's very hard to generate new creative material in the small bites of time that busy work and home lives allow. I'm looking forward to writing a hefty stack of pages."

The Wisconsin Arts Board received 116 applications from literary artists from throughout the state. Awards were determined by three panels of arts professionals, based on the artistic quality of the applicants' work samples. Panelists recommended the artists to members of the Wisconsin Arts Board for its final approval.

Garland joined UW-Eau Claire's English department in 1996. His first book of poems, The Postal Confessions, won the 1994 Juniper Prize for Poetry. Other awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Tara Award for Short Fiction, a James Michener Fiction Fellowship, a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship, a Poetry Fellowship from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, and a Bush Artist Fellowship. He has new poems appearing in the current issues of the literary journals Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review and the upcoming issue of Prairie Schooner.

Loomis came to UW-Eau Claire in 2002. Her writing has been published in Glimmer Train, The Black Warrior Review and Harper's Magazine, among other periodicals. She served as a Jay C. & Ruth Halls fellow in creative writing at UW-Madison and received a master's in fiction writing from The University of Montana.

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JB

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