Dr. Rebecca Morgan Frank, assistant professor of English at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious Kate Tufts Discovery Award for Poetry.
The $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award is presented annually by Claremont Graduate University for a first book by a poet of genuine promise. Frank’s book, “Little Murders Everywhere,” features a collection of 45 poems, including one that bears the book’s title.
“This is absolutely the best news that I could imagine for my first book,” said Frank, who joined the Southern Miss faculty in 2012. “I have so much respect for these judges, and to have my book selected as a finalist from all the terrific first books published this year is an honor and offers wonderful encouragement as I work on my next book of poems.”
Other finalists include Francine J. Harris, who teaches at the University of Michigan and Heidy Steidlmayer, a free-lance writer living in Northern California. Winners will be announced in March and recognized during a ceremony at Claremont Graduate University in April.
Frank earned her bachelor’s of arts degree from Vassar College; her master’s of fine arts from Emerson College and her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati. A Charlottesville, Va., native, she is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine Memorious.
In describing her philosophy about writing poetry, Frank said, “For me, to be a poet is to continually be a student of the poets who have come before me and of the poets writing now whose work I admire. Reading is an essential part of my writing process.”
Frank, who teaches poetry writing at Southern Miss, draws much of her inspiration and direction from highly acclaimed poet Emily Dickinson.
“Emily Dickinson said: ‘if I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,’ ” noted Frank. “She has that effect on me. While I have many favorite poets, many of them, as do I, write from the inheritance of the intelligence and music of her poems.”