Receives 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship

Second NEA fellow at Grinnell in two years
Lisa Lacher

The National Endowment for the Arts recently announced that poet Hai-Dang Phan ’03, assistant professor of English, is one of 37 writers nationwide to receive a 2017 individual creative writing fellowship of $25,000.

Phan was selected from more than 1,800 eligible applicants through an anonymous review process based on artistic excellence. He’s the second Grinnell College faculty member to receive an NEA creative writing fellowship in two years. Novelist Dean Bakopoulos, writer-in-residence, received a 2016 fellowship. Fellowships alternate between poetry and prose each year. 

“It’s a really amazing thing for two Grinnell faculty to have won these highly competitive fellowships in just two years,” says Michael Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

“It feels personally significant to me that I received this fellowship as an English professor at Grinnell,” Phan says. “Grinnell College has been a supportive, creative, and intellectual environment for me for many years, first as an undergrad here and now as a professor in the English department.” He’s been on the faculty since 2012.

Last year was a highly successful time for Phan as a writer. He received the New England Review’s Emerging Writers Award, a scholarship that enabled him to attend the prestigious Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont in August 2016. 

For his poem titled, “My Father’s Norton Introduction to Literature, Third Edition (1981),” Phan won the Frederick Bock Prize, given by editors of Poetry in recognition of the best work published in the magazine during the past year. That poem was also selected for Best American Poetry 2016, guest-edited by nationally renowned poet Edward Hirsch ’72

“Hai-Dang Phan, who has been nurtured by Grinnell, is a gifted poet of dislocation, migration, and inheritance,” Hirsch says. “He is part of the future of American poetry.”  

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