Dr. Simone Muench, associate professor of English, received a National Endowment for the Arts Award: FY 2013 Literature Fellowship in Creative Poetry Writing for her Wolf Centos project, a book of poems that portray the polarities and struggles humans endure through aging and experiencing loss. Muench was awarded $25,000 as part of the fellowship.
An award-winning writer, Muench has been working on Wolf Centos for a few years. The project is a book of cento, a patchwork form that originated around the 4th century. Wolf Centos reconfigures pre-existing texts into new systems of imagery and ideas that are portrayed in poems. Transformation and stasis, wilderness and domesticity, death and beauty, damage and healing are all key ideas in the poems.
“Ultimately, the poems convey loss, which can be negative, but concurrently is positive, in that, it is through loss we gain empathy, knowledge and experience. The ultimate knowledge of the poems is that as we age and experience loss, we must retain our “wildness”—the wolf’s wilderness—inside us. In this way, the wolf becomes a symbol of a threshold, a transformative space,” added Muench.
Muench has been teaching at Lewis University since 2003. “My role as a professor has been tremendously rewarding. I love teaching and am often inspired and transformed by my students. I think of my role as writer and teacher as being inextricably woven. When you love something, you immerse yourself in it, not just in the construction of it, but also in the dissemination and the community of it,” commented Muench.
She also serves as a faculty adviser to The Jet Fuel Review, a student-run, faculty-advised online literary journal, and Lewis University’s Movie Club, an organization of students who are movie enthusiasts.
Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
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