Jill Allyn Rosser

Photographer: Phyllis Freels

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Rosser named 2010 Guggenheim Fellow

English professor will use award to finish book of poetry

Ohio University Associate Professor of English Jill Allyn Rosser was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2010 in the foundation's creative writing and poetry category.

The Guggenheim Fellowship program provides fellows with the time they need to work on their area of specialization with as much creative freedom as possible.

Rosser, who teaches courses in creative writing, poetry, novels, and drama, will use her award to take a nine-month sabbatical so that she can finish her fourth book of poetry.

"Typically it takes about six years to complete a book of poetry when I am splitting my life as a professor and poet," said Jill Rosser, who earned her doctorate in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

When Rosser became a poet she first published her work in literary journals; however, she said it was not until she published her first book of poetry that she truly felt like a poet.  

Rosser said she allows her poetry to lead her and does not set out to write poems or books of poetry centered on a specific topic or theme. Instead she finds the theme after all of the poems are written. For instance, after finishing her second book of poetry she
discovered that many of the poems related to motherhood.  

"People often say that poetry has been marginalized in our culture. I disagree," said Rosser, who looks forward to attending the Guggenheim recipients' reception in New York. "

It's clear that we all need poetry, since we read it at our most emotionally charged ceremonies – at weddings and funerals, when we take stock of what matters most in our lives, and need to reaffirm our deepest beliefs and feelings."

In addition to winning the Guggenheim Fellowship, Rosser also recently won a writer's residency from the Lannan Foundation, which will afford her five weeks to work on her poetry in Texas.

On top of her work as a professor and poet, Rosser has been the editor of the Creative Writing Program's literary journal, New Ohio Review for two years. This journal publishes the work of poets, essayist, and fiction writers. Also, a poem by Rosser will appear in the anthology "Best American Poetry 2010." 

Rosser's husband, Mark Halliday, who also teaches in the Department of English, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry in 2006.

The Guggenheim Fellowship is a competitive award to win. The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year and approximately 180 fellowships are awarded to distinguished scholars and writers of various disciplines in the sciences and humanities.

Former United States Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife, Olga, established the Guggenheim award in 1925 in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim who passed away in 1922 at the age of 17.