“I received a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2003. At the time, I was living in subsidized housing on Cape Cod and working as an adjunct professor teaching at three different colleges. On weekends and during the summer, I worked at an inn where I cleaned hotel rooms. When I received word from the NEA that I had received a fellowship, I remember feeling as though I had been rescued. The fellowship allowed me to pay off debts and to even have some money to put aside for a down payment on a house. The fellowship also raised my profile as a writer, and I believe that contributed to my getting a permanent faculty position later that year. Since that time, I have been able to write two more books and build a career at Bennington College. The fellowship provided much needed encouragement for my work as a poet at a time when I thought I might have to find another path. More importantly, it provided me an opportunity to gain financial stability that has had a lasting effect on my life, my creative work, and my career as an academic. I now direct a reading series, teach literature and work in a graduate writing program. The NEA helped make all of this possible.”

Mark Wunderlich

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