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Duhamel becomes third creative writing professor to earn Guggenheim Fellowship


FIU creative writing professor Denise Duhamel has been named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow.

Duhamel is one of 178 scholars, artists and scientists in the United States and Canada selected for the prestigious award.

“I am thrilled to have been selected for this fellowship,” Duhamel said. “This marks a rite of passage into the next level of your career. I feel very honored.”

Worth $40,000, Guggenheim fellowships are granted to candidates who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Denise Duhamel, professor in the FIU Creative Writing Program in the Department of English

Denise Duhamel, professor in the FIU Creative Writing Program in the Department of English.

Duhamel is currently working on a book of poetry on the relationship between men and women. Fascinated by On The Origin of Species and Charles Darwin at an early age, Duhamel plans to fulfill her childhood dream of visiting the Galapagos Islands where the British naturalist and geologist spent the early years of his career developing what is now known as Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“In nature, gender roles are oftentimes very strictly defined. I want to look at animals that don’t fit the mold and behavior that questions the division of labor between gender. As a feminist, I want to say we can do anything we want and switch roles,” Duhamel said. “Going to the Galapagos and seeing its pristine environments – places untouched by progress – is fascinating to me. I really hope the trip will feed into the book I’m working on.”

A Rhode Island native, Duhamel joined FIU faculty in 1999. She has taught creative writing and poetry courses and workshops at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is the third creative writing faculty member to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. John Dufresne and Campbell McGrath were awarded these in 2012 and 1998, respectively.

“The quality of the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at FIU is equal to any in the country and the recognition of the Guggenheim Foundation in honoring McGrath, Dufresne, and, now, Duhamel, is obvious support for that statement,” said Les Standiford, director of the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English. “Students who have had the pleasure to study with these individuals already know how fortunate they are, but it is always nice to have your opinions seconded by such authorities as the Guggenheim.”

Duhamel is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including: Ka-Ching! (2009), Two and Two (2005), and Mille et un sentiments (2005).  Her book of poetry, Blowout (2013), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She most recently served as the guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013. Duhamel has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Puffin Foundation, and Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust for Theater.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was established in 1925 by U.S. Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife as a memorial to a son that had died. It offers fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts.