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Hometown poet earns NEA fellowship
December 7, 2010 - Bill Ackerbauer
Earlier this year, while discussing National Poetry Month, I wrote about several accomplished poets who have roots in my hometown. Now, one of the folks I dubbed "Ornithographers of the Soul" has a new feather in his literary cap. The following item appears in today's print edition:
JHS grad earns NEA grant
WASHINGTON — Joshua Mehigan, a 1987 graduate of Johnstown High School, has been awarded a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship for poetry.
The Johnstown native is one of 42 poets around the country who each will receive a $25,000 award. They were selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants. The fellowships are intended to promote the creation of new works of literature by allowing writers the time and means to write.
“The fellowship is, flat out, about the greatest thing I could imagine happening to me at the moment,” Mehigan told The Leader-Herald. “It’s extremely good timing ... I’m planning to take some time and do what life hasn’t allowed me to do very often over the past two years and write poems.”
He hopes the fellowship will allow him to complete his current book of lyric poems and perhaps get started on another book.
He has other creative projects in mind, as well, including prose works and translation of poetry from German.
“Poetry is hard,” Mehigan said. “Even poets far more successful than I can never just sit around and write poems all the time. Most have to work.”
Mehigan lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Talia, and is a graduate teaching fellow at Brooklyn College.
His first book of poems, “The Optimist,” was one of five finalists for a 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize.
His poems have appeared in periodicals including The New Republic, The New York Times and Ploughshares. Most recently, his poem “Fire Safety” appeared in the November 2010 edition of Poetry.
For more information, see www.joshuamehigan.net.
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“Even poets far more successful than I can never just sit around and write poems all the time," says Joshua Mehigan. "Most have to work.”