Aracelis Girmay was one of 10 winners nationwide to receive a Whiting Award.
Aracelis Girmay was one of 10 winners nationwide to receive a Whiting Award.

Poet and professor one of 10 writers recognized nationwide.

Aracelis Girmay, poet and teaching member of Drew’s MFA in Poetry program, won a 2015 Whiting Award, given annually to emerging writers in poetry fiction, nonfiction and drama. The award includes a $50,000 prize.

Girmay, who joined Drew in 2010, has published two poetry collections, Kingdom Animalia (2011), which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Teeth (2007).

Girmay is currently working on a manuscript, which she plans to publish in spring 2016.

“It has been really incredible to be working on these poems in the Drew community,” she said of her work.

“It is not a surprise to me, the Drew community or anyone who knows Girmay’s work that she is being recognized as one of the top emerging writers in the country,” said Sean Nevin, director of the MFA in Poetry program. “She is a gifted and brave poet with an unflinching eye toward our shared humanity. Her award is yet another indication of the exceptional and highly recognized group of core faculty in Drew’s MFA in Poetry program.”

Girmay is an assistant professor of poetry at Hampshire College and received her BA from Connecticut College and her MFA in poetry from New York University. She’s won numerous grants and fellowships, including one from the National Endowment for the Arts.

She said, “I believe in the life of poetry. I believe it’s alive…in and out of us.”