UIC poet wins national literary fellowship

Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves was awarded a 2013 NEA creative writing grant for outstanding poets.

A UIC poet whose inspirations include Shakespeare, Lil Wayne, John Berryman and Ralph Ellison was awarded a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Roger Reeves, assistant professor of English, was one of 40 winners nationwide to receive the 2013 NEA creative writing grant for outstanding poets.

Reeves will use the $25,000 award to investigate the Rock Springs Massacre, an 1885 racial labor riot in Wyoming, when white miners killed 28 Chinese miners over wages and other issues.

Reeves plans to visit Rock Springs for research and writing inspiration while considering its ethnic and regional connections to racial violence of that period.

“I am particularly interested in this massacre’s relationship with the rise of lynching and terrorism in the South in the late-19th century,” he says.

Reeves, who is also interested in folk music and minstrelsy, is working on a collection of sonnets that deal with the emotional and intellectual legacy of lynching.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast and the Cincinnati Review, among others.

His poem “Kletic of Walt Whitman” was selected in 2009 for Best New Poets, an annual anthology of 50 poems from emerging writers.

Reeves, who joined UIC in 2011, received his doctorate in poetry, poetics and literary criticism from the University of Texas.

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