Awards and Honors, Faculty News

Bennington Faculty and Alumni Awarded 2022 Guggenheim Fellowships

Visiting faculty member Colin Brant, former Bennington Writing Seminars faculty member Melissa Febos, and Michael Pollan '76 are recipients of the prestigious 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Awards were given this year to a diverse group of 180 Fellows comprising writers, scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 2,500 applicants in the Foundation’s 97th competition.

Colin Brant, visiting faculty member, was awarded a Fine Arts Fellowship. Brant creates luxurious, color-drenched paintings and drawings that present an inquiry that is both reverent and skeptical, offering examinations of landscape as personal, politicized, and perpetually evolving historical space.

Melissa Febos, former Bennington Writing Seminars faculty member, was awarded a General Nonfiction Fellowship. Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart and the essay collection, Abandon Me, which The New Yorker called “mesmerizing,” and was an Indie Next Pick and named a Best Book of 2017 by Esquire, Book Riot, The Cut, Electric Literature, The Brooklyn Rail, Bustle, Refinery29, Salon, and The Rumpus

Michael Pollan '76 was awarded a General Nonfiction Fellowship. For the past 25 years, Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author five New York Times bestsellers: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013); Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006); and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the 10 best books of 2006 by both The New York Times and The Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, 51 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 81 different academic institutions, 31 states and the District of Columbia, and 4 Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows,.

“Now that the past two years are hopefully behind all of us, it is a special joy to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, President of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “This year marks the Foundation’s 97th annual Fellowship competition. Our long experience tells us what an impact these annual grants will have to change people’s lives. The work supported by the Foundation will aid in our collective effort to better understand the new world we’re in, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It is an honor for the Foundation to help the Fellows carry out their visionary work.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and many other internationally recognized honors.

For more information on the Fellows and their projects, please visit the Foundation’s website.

Guggenheim Fellowships by Bennington Alumni and/or Faculty Members:

2020: J. Blackwell, faculty; Jenny Boully, MFAW faculty; Helen Mirra '91; Garth Greenwall, visiting writer.

2019: Carmen Giménez Smith, former faculty; Karen Hartman, former faculty; Christopher Merrill, former MFA faculty; Sam Pluta, former faculty

2018: Amy Gerstler MFA '00

2017: Fiona Maazel MFA ’02; Elana Herzog '76; Jen Liu, faculty; Melinda Ring MFA '01

2014: Claire Vaye Watkins, former MFA faculty; Pier Consagra, former visiting artist

2013: J. C. Hallman, former MFA faculty; Major Jackson, former MFA faculty; Ann Pibal, faculty; Carlin Romano, former faculty; Cora Cohen '64; Anne Waldman '66; Carrie Moyer '82; Terese Svoboda, former faculty 

2012: Lia Purpura, former MFA visiting writer; Benjamin Taylor, former faculty 

2011: Patricia Volk, former MFA faculty; Jonathan Haynes, former faculty; DD Dorvillier '89

2010: Mary Lum, faculty; Peter Trachtenberg, MFA faculty; Marta Ptaszyńska, former faculty; Sarah Stanbury '71

2009: Ralph Lemon, former faculty 

2008: Michael Burkard, former MFA faculty; Ann Goldstein '71; Laurie R. Godfrey '67; Myrna Packer '74; Reginald Shepherd ’88; Martha Graham, former faculty 

2007: Maria Flook, former MFA faculty 

2006: Yoko Inoue, faculty; Douglas G. Biow '79

2005: Mark Slouka, former MFA faculty; Henri Cole, former faculty 

2003: April Bernard, MFA faculty 

2002: Mary L. Ruefle '74, former faculty; Nicholas Brooke, faculty; Ralph Lee, former faculty

2001: Brian Morton, former MFA faculty; George Packer, former MFA faculty 

2000: Amy Hempel, MFA faculty; Milford Graves, former faculty

1999: Bernard Cooper, former MFA faculty; Susan Rethorst '74

1998: David Gates, current MFA faculty; Ain Gordon, former faculty; Barbara Bloom '72; Kenji Fujita ’78; Judith Butler '78

1995: Eve Sussman '84

1994: Sven Birkerts, MFA faculty; Kevin E. Bubriski MFA ’97; Sidney Tillim, former faculty; Andrew Spence, former faculty 

1993: Kathleen Norris ’69

1991: David M. Brody ’81

1990: Lynn Freed, former MFA faculty; Dr. Bonnie Costello '72

1989: Pamela Avril Tucker MA ’80

1988: David Gates, MFA faculty; Phillip Lopate, former MFA faculty; Gretel Ehrlich '67

1987: David Gordon, former faculty; Alec J. Wilkinson '74; Liz Phillips '73; Sally Mann '71

1985: Liam Rector, former Director of Bennington Writing Seminars and faculty; Brower Hatcher, former faculty; Arturo Vivante, former faculty; Deirdre Bair, former faculty 

1984: Susan Cheever, MFA faculty; Lynne Sharon Schwartz, MFA faculty

1983: Cynthia Lee Macdonald '50

1982: Laura Furman '68

1981: Sara Rudner MFA ’99

1980: Mary Oliver, former faculty 

1980: Vivian Fine, former faculty 

1978: Elizabeth Swados '73

1977: Kathryn Posin ’65; Joan Tower '61; Barbara Herrnstein Smith, former faculty 

1975: Edward Hoagland, former MFA faculty; Pril Smiley’65

1974: Jill Hoffman '59

1972: Donald Hall, former MFA faculty

1970: Patricia Johanson '62; Eugene Goossens, former faculty 

1969: Stanley Edgar Hyman, former faculty 

1968: Howard Nemerov, former faculty 

1967: Alwin Nikolais '40

1964: Edward Hoagland, former MFA faculty 

1963: Donald Hall, former MFA faculty

1959: Helen F. Codere, former faculty 

1946: Henry Brant, former faculty 

1945: Ben Belitt, former faculty 

1942: W. H. Auden, former faculty

1937: Robert G. McBride, former faculty 

1935: Kenneth Burke, former faculty 

1928: Léonie Adams, former faculty