Campus: CSU, Long Beach -- May 07, 2001

CSULB English Professor Charles Harper Webb Receives Prestigious 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship

Charles Harper Webb, a professor of English at Cal State Long Beach, has been chosen as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow for 2001.

"This is a very prestigious fellowship, and I am delighted to receive it," said Webb, one of seven poets to secure the honor. "It allows me time to write. I am very grateful." Webb received the fellowship based on the submission of his last two books (Reading the Water and Liver) and bolstered by four strong recommendations to the Guggenheim committee.

"The Guggenheim fellowship has huge academic credibility," said Webb. "The prestige is at least as important as the money. It's sort of like a poetry Oscar. It confers a status that's permanent.

"The foundation tries to recognize individuals at the height of their game," Webb noted. "Not that they've peaked," he quickly added. "I hope to continue getting better. But Guggenheim fellows have reached a fairly high level."

Guggenheim Fellowships are grants to selected individuals made for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12. The foundation offers fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed.
"They don't give you the money to buy a Mercedes," said Webb. "This award is to provide unimpeded time to work. Writers are always pressed for time. That's the most valuable commodity we have.

"The money is a bonus. I'd write poetry for free. I usually do," he added. "To get a cash prize to help, that's frosting on the cake. And it tastes great."

In late fall, Webb is expecting publication of his next book, Tulip Farms and Leper Colonies from BOA Editions.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was established in 1925 by United States Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife as a memorial to a son who died April 26, 1922. The Guggenheim Foundation provides fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields (natural and social sciences, humanities and creative arts) except the performing arts.

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