UNT doctoral student Matt Morton's NEA fellowship allows him to focus on his poetry

Matt Morton (Photo by Lesya Bazylewica)Doctoral student Matt Morton believes starting a new book is exciting and intimidating.

"It's an opportunity to take new risks and to write without any notion of what the end product should be," he says.

Morton, a Ph.D. candidate in English, has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship program, which gives grants so published writers can set aside time for writing. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Gulf Coast, Harvard Review and Tin House. Morton serves as editor for 32 Poems and is a UNT Robert B. Toulouse Doctoral Fellow in English. Several of his poems that he submitted with his application for the NEA fellowship were workshopped by UNT professors and peers.

His first book, Spring If Anything, is a collection of poems that are connected by a central inquiry -- what does it mean to live a good life? It is being considered by several publishers. The grant will allow him to focus on his second book of poems.

"Receiving the NEA fellowship in the midst of this has given me both financial security -- the importance of which for a graduate student cannot be overstated -- and affirmation that my writing has value for others," he says.

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