“I received an NEA fellowship in poetry in 1990 that changed every aspect of my lliterary life. I had only published one book of poems at the time; my ninth is coming out next year. I was a dedicated teacher of both literature and creative writing, but time out to read and reflect on the writing process, both my own and my students’, made me an immensely better teacher. I was also able to begin thinking about translating poetry; I have now published four volumes of co-translated poems and have an important anthology of multiple translations coming out this fall. Many of these things would have happened, or happened to some degree, without the fellowship. But the truth is that writing poetry cannot be a full-time job for any except the independently wealthy. For the time of the fellowship, I was a full-time writer; the results were dramatic, for both me and (I hope) my readers.”

Martha Collins

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