October 26, 2011
Honors Program writer-in-residence awarded state and national book awards
Frances McCue wins Washington State Book Award and Grub Street Book Prize
Frances McCue, Honors Program writer-in-residence and instructor, was recently awarded a 2011 Washington State Book Award for poetry and national Grub Street Book Prize for her most recent book of poems, The Bled, published by Factory Hollow Press. The poems take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, where McCue taught on a Fulbright Fellowship. While there with her family, her husband unexpectedly died. The poems in The Bled are moving elegies to her husband, that moment, and her grief.
Elisa Gabbert, head juror for the Grub Street Book Prize, said, “The Bled is moving and tragic, yes, but doesn’t rely on automatic pathos to impress—it is also wonderful poetry. McCue’s voice is sure and devoid of clichés, her language deft, exact, and lovely. McCue’s The Bled joins Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Tess Gallagher’s Moon Crossing Bridge among fierce, gorgeous books about marriage and grief.”
“For me, this book was something I never questioned,” said McCue. “It rose out of me, sanguine and urgent, arising from my training in the craft of poetry and from the torn up landscape of my heart.”
McCue’s other book, The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs, was a nonfiction/history finalist for the Washington State Book Award. In it, McCue visited and wrote about the western towns poet Richard Hugo was inspired by. Photographs by Mary Randlett accompany the essays. The essays and photographs offer a fresh perspective of the Northwest Hugo wrote so much about. The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs was published by the University of Washington Press. Both McCue and Hugo are graduates of the UW Creative Writing Program, almost forty years apart.
In her work as writer-in-residence in the Honors Program, McCue teaches classes, consults with students about their writing, and with other faculty members about strategies for bringing writing into the classroom and the community. This year, in addition to teaching her “Ways Of Knowing” sequence, she is a guest lecturer in an honors course called “Transformation,” a class taught by Jim Clauss, Honors Program director, and Ed Taylor, dean and vice provost of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. In the summer, she’ll lead a study abroad program to Morocco.