“Bad Poetry” is Great Fiction: MFA Student Earns AWP Intro Award in Fiction

Friday, April 17 2009

April 17, 2009

Written by Donna Emert

“Bad Poetry” is Great Fiction: MFA Student Earns AWP Intro Award in Fiction

MOSCOW, Idaho – Validation is good. Redoubled, it’s even sweeter.

University of Idaho student Kendall Sand recently defended her thesis and will earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing May 16. The degree is concrete evidence that she has successfully satisfied demanding academic requirements. Her recent literary award from the Association of Writers & Writing Program’s (AWP) offers further evidence that her talent and hard work are exceptional, and recognized even outside of academia.

“The highly competitive and highly visible contest throws some much-deserved light on up-and-coming writers,” said Brandon Schrand, director of the MFA creative writing program. “This is a tremendous honor and opportunity for Kendall, and a great honor for the MFA program specifically, and the University of Idaho generally.”

Sand’s story, “Bad Poetry,” was nominated by MFA faculty member Kim Barnes and recently selected by writer Michael Griffith to receive the AWP Intro Award in Fiction. As an award-winning entry, “Bad Poetry” will appear in the literary journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review. The story was originally part of Sand’s MFA thesis, “Clowning for Beginners.”

“Bad Poetry” tells the story of Simone, who writes some really bad poetry in an attempt to understand a tragic accident. The story appears in the middle of Sand’s thesis, which shows women at crisis moments in their most significant relationships. Unable to identify precisely what is wrong, or how to repair it, these women are prone to poor choices, and cannot shake the sense that they are novices, beginners, at adulthood, at love and at life.

The Intro Journals Project, which culminates in the Intro Award in Fiction, is a literary competition established to promote discovery and publication of the best new works by students currently enrolled in the programs of AWP. Graduate and undergraduate students affiliated with the organization are eligible to compete.

Sand is the third University of Idaho MFA student to have earned the honor. Former Intro Award winners are Sheryl Grant, in nonfiction, 2002 and Taya Noland, in nonfiction in 2003.

That Sand’s story will be published in Hayden’s Ferry Review also is significant, Schrand noted: as one of the leading literary journals in America, HFR has published literary luminaries such as Rita Dove, Joseph Heller, T.C. Boyle, Ron Carlson, Norman Dubie, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Yusef Komunyakaa, Joel-Peter Witkin, Ai, David St. John, Gloria Naylor, Tess Gallagher, Ken Kesey, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Allen Ginsberg.

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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.

Media Contact: Donna Emert, University Communications, (208)640-1609, demert@uidaho.edu Photo available at www.today.uidaho.edu/PhotoList.aspx

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.