RAYMOND PLANK-UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON FELLOWSHIP IN CREATIVE WRITING AT UCROSS IS AWARDED TO POET NIKI HERD
Ucross, WY (May 4, 2021) — Today, Ucross announced that the 2021 Raymond Plank-University of Houston Creative Writing Fellow is poet Niki Herd. The fellowship, named in honor of Ucross’s founder, provides a four-week residency and stipend to one writer each year. Herd is receiving uninterrupted time, studio space, and living accommodations on Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.
The Raymond Plank-University of Houston Creative Writing Fellowship at Ucross, established in 2019, was made possible by the vision and generosity of the Raymond Plank Philanthropy Fund, and Deborah and Ed Koehler of Houston.
“As one of the nation’s preeminent artist residency programs, the quality of the partnerships we have with academic institutions, artistic programs, theatres, and awards enhances our relationship with both established and emerging artists,” said Sharon Dynak, President and Executive Director of Ucross. “Niki’s talents are vast, and she is a welcome addition to our 2021 spring season.”
Herd’s poems have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Obsidian, and the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-a-Day” project, among other journals and anthologies. Her work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Cave Canem. She is the author of The Language of Shedding Skin and co-editor of Laura Hershey: On the Life & Work of an American Master, which features the poetry of and critical essays about disability activist Laura Hershey. Herd is currently at work on a prose meditation on memory, gender, and the act of speaking, as well as a collection of poems about violence in America. She is an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. Herd was recently selected to serve as the 2021-2022 Visiting Writer-in-Residence in Poetry at Washington University, St. Louis.
Raymond Plank (1922-2018) was a World War II veteran, business leader, and philanthropist. After graduating from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he formed Apache Corporation, which under his leadership became one of the world’s leading independent oil and gas companies. Recognizing that artists need creative space and time to produce their best work, Plank established Ucross Foundation in 1981. Ucross welcomed its first cohort of artists in 1983.
Since then, more than 2,500 artists have received residencies at Ucross, including such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, and Tayari Jones. Recent National Book Award winners Susan Choi, Sigrid Nunez, and Sarah M. Broom have been residents, as have Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, recent Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Colson Whitehead, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
Ucross participates in a number of partnerships with national organizations that enhance its ability to support outstanding individual artists with residencies. National partners include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, the Whiting Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Alley Theatre, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, and others. In 2020, along with the Yale School of Drama and the Yale School of Music, Ucross forged several exciting new partnerships with an array of high-profile creative forces in the United States, including the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Cave Canem, and The Blank Theatre (Los Angeles).