Sarah Messer is an associate professor of poetry and creative nonfiction at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She has published a book of poetry, Bandit Letters (New Issues, 2001), and a hybrid history/memoir, Red House: Being a Mostly Accurate Account of New England’s Oldest Continuously Lived-in House (Viking, 2004), which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick for fall 2004.
During her fellowship, Messer will complete a book of poetry titled “Mouse Oracle.” Like her previous books, this one is concerned with gender, history, and the domestic sphere. The poems are inspired by and manipulate “found” language from historical documents; they explore how divination works on an everyday level and how it reflects, combats, and reacts to larger political and religious forces in this country.
Messer’s poems have been anthologized in many collections and published in journals such as the Kenyon Review, the Michigan Quarterly Review, the Paris Review, and others. She contributed an essay to the recent anthology Choice (MacAdam/Cage, 2007). Her awards include fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She has won grants from the American Antiquarian Society, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the North Carolina Arts Council.