The Louisiana Board of Regents announced that Carolyn Hembree, assistant professor of English at the University of New Orleans, will receive $35,015 from its Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars (ATLAS) program. Hembree’s award will fund the completion of a new book of poetry entitled “O Pony of South Derbigny O Leaping Yellow.”
The ATLAS program supports creative and scholarly activities undertaken by faculty in arts, humanities and social sciences disciplines with potential to have a broad impact at the regional or national levels. Grant reviewers from other states who participated in this process lauded Hembree’s previous efforts and extolled the value of her proposed work.
Comments from grant reviewers noted that Hembree is a well-published poet. Her new work would add to the “little existing work in the area of female subjectivity in ‘disaster poetry’” and offer “a timely addition to our understanding of the gendered consequences of disasters” through its themes of female relationships and experiences, as well as domestic violence in post-disaster circumstances. The significance of Hembree’s new book is compared to that of “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” which focuses in part on the effect of the Iranian Revolution on female college students. Reviewers further noted the steady growth in Hembree’s career, her numerous awards and residencies and her experience as editor of “The Sonora Review,” a highly respected publication in the field.
The Board of Regents will fund 10 proposals out of the 56 it received. The evaluation process took place in two phases, which ultimately weighed the top proposals according to four criteria: significance to the field, strength of conceptualization, quality of the applicant’s previous work and feasibility of the proposed work plan.
In a statement commending ATLAS competition, the panel of grant reviewers stated that campuses across Louisiana are strengthened when faculty model scholarly and creative excellence both to other faculty and to students.
“Enhancing the research and artistic profile of any university creates benefits not only for all residents of the campus, but the entire state through generative innovation and education,” the statement said.