Professor Named 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow

By Tom McLaughlin

Adding to his already impressive list of honors and awards, Patrick Rosal, an associate professor of English at Rutgers University–Camden, has been named a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Creative Writing (Prose) Fellow.

Rosal recently received the 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, awarded by the Academy of American Poets in recognition of the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.

The $25,000 grant is given to published creative writers, enabling recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

“I’m moved when I think about the histories of storytelling and song I’ve inherited from my childhood, my family, and friends,” says the 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Poetry Fellow and former Fulbright Fellow to the Philippines. “This award honors those traditions.”

The hits just keep on coming for Rosal, whose adept ability to crystallize what captures the mind’s eye earned his latest collection of poems, Brooklyn Antediluvian (Persea Books, 2016), the 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets. The award recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.

In Brooklyn Antediluvian, the Philadelphia resident unflinchingly addresses questions of race and race relations in America. The lyrical masterpiece dives to the depths of his identity and experiences as a Filipino American, traversing his childhood growing up in North Jersey and his family’s roots from home to the Philippines.

His previous work, Boneshepherds (2011), was named a small press highlight by the National Book Critics Circle and a notable book by the Academy of American Poets. His collections – which include My American Kundiman (2006), and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (2003) – have also been honored with the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, Global Filipino Literary Award, and the Asian American Writers Workshop Members’ Choice Award.

Rosal, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Bloomfield College and a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, has been invited to read and perform his poetry throughout the world, including making several appearances at the Dodge Poetry Festival, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and the Asheville WordFest.

He has taught college- and high-school level poetry, creative writing, and performance classes and workshops at schools throughout the country.

Above all, says Rosal, he hopes that students experience two things in their writing, which he hopes they see in him: “rigor and delight.” When working in tandem, he says, rigor and delight can lead to personal and intellectual discovery.

“When I am standing before the class, I hope that my students see a human being who is trying to figure something out, through a rigorous understanding of language and history, and delight in that rigor,” he says. “As writers, we tend to think that we are doing something to the language. But the language is actually doing something to us; it is changing the way that we see the world.”

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. For a full list of this year’s creative writing fellowship recipients, visit

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