2014 has been a banner year for Gallatin professor and esteemed poet Emily Fragos. In April, Fragos was one of ten poets selected to receive a Guggenheim fellowship, one of the nation’s highest awards for poetry. Fellows go through a rigorous selection process in order to uncover those writers who, according to the Guggenheim Foundation, “have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” The American Academy of Arts and Letters also called attention to Fragos and her work by awarding her a 2014 Prize in Literature. A distinguished committee comprised of the novelists Louis Begley, Alison Lurie, Francine Prose, and the poets Louise Glück, Mark Strand, and Charles Wright selected Fragos and the other seven literature award recipients. The program citation for the May awards celebration reads: “Amidst so much drab verse these days, Fragos is a rarity: a grace aglow with a haunted tenderness.”
The author of two books of poetry, Little Savage (Grove/Atlantic, 2004) and Hostage: New & Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011), Fragos has also edited five poetry anthologies from Everyman’s Pocket Library/Knopf: Art and Artists; The Great Cat; The Dance; Music's Spell; and Letters: Emily Dickinson. About her recent successes, Fragos says, “As in all the arts, there will be disappointments, even if you have the skin of a rhinoceros. So recognition is important, and it’s been nice to have top people in the field have faith in my work.” The well-deserved honors give Fragos a bit of breathing room and the space to make new work. For this, the awards are a gift to poetry—and to us all.