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Christian Wiman '88 Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Christian Wiman, a 1988 graduate of Washington and Lee and editor of Poetry magazine, is one of 180 scholars, artists and scientists from the United States and Canada to win a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for 2012.

According to the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, it awards the fellowships on the basis of “prior achievement and exceptional promise.” The foundation chose this year’s winners from almost 3,000 applicants. Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted almost $290 million to more than 17,000 fellowship winners.

One of 10 Guggenheim Fellows named in poetry, Chris has been editor of Poetry, the oldest American magazine of verse, since 2003. His first book of poetry, “The Long Home,” won the Nicholas Roerich Prize. His 2010 book, “Every Riven Thing” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), was chosen by poet and critic Dan Chiasson as one of the best poetry books of 2010. His poems, criticism and personal essays appear widely in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker.

Seven years ago, Chris was diagnosed with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, an incurable cancer of the blood. He has written about the disease and his response to it in several essays, including “Gazing into the Abyss,” in the summer 2007 edition of The American Scholar, and “By Love We Are Led to God,” in the Winter/Spring 2012 edition of the Harvard Divinity Bulletin.

In February, Chris appeared on “Moyers and Company” with journalist Bill Moyers (father of William Moyers, W&L Class of 1981) and discussed how finding true love and being diagnosed with the illness reignited both his religious passion and his creative expression. Watch the video of the interview below:

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