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Dr. Lisa Russ Spaar, 2016 Finalist, earned her B.A. with high distinction and summa cum laude honors in English language and literature from the University of Virginia in 1978. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing (poetry) from the University of Virginia in 1982. In addition to teaching for more than 20 years in the University of Virginia’s department of English, she has held positions at James Madison University and University of North Texas.
Spaar’s many awards and fellowships include the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Award (Spring 2015); Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Research Award (2014-2016); Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Award (2013-2015); Outstanding Faculty Award of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (2010); Guggenheim Fellowship (2009-2010), Carole Weinstein Poetry Award (2011); Library of Virginia Prize for Poetry (2009); and a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers (2000-2001).
Spaar has penned, edited and published dozens of poems, books, chapters, anthologies and essays during her career. Her publications include: The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations of Contemporary Poetry, Vanitas, Rough: Poems and Satin Cash: Poems. More than 80 of her poems have been published in publications such as Boston Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, SLATE, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Kenyon Review and The Yale Review. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Review of Books.