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Michigan poet Khaled Mattawa wins $50,000 artist fellowship

Khaled Mattawa
Amanda Abel
Courtesy of U.S. Artists
Poet and translator Khaled Mattawa wins $50,000 U.S. Artists fellowship

A Michigan poet is $50,000 richer, thanks to the arts advocacy organization United States Artists.

Libyan-born poet Khaled Mattawa was one of 50 artists around the country to receive a U.S. Artists award this year. More than 300 artists were nominated for the award.

"You feel good to have been nominated and to have been placed within this pool, but then to actually be among those chosen in the end is really quite exciting. And also I feel like I really have to get even better than I’ve been...people are awarding you because they seem to expect more, and that expectation is both humbling and rewarding."

The Libyan-born poet received more good news earlier this year when he was awarded a fellowship prize from the Academy of American Poets,  an award given out to one poet a year.

Mattawa teaches poetry at the University of Michigan. He’s translated numerous books of Arabic poetry and has published four volumes of his own poetry. His most recent collection is Tocqueville.

Mattawa was the only Michigan artist to win a U.S. Artists award this year. Last year, three Michigan artists were awarded $50,000 fellowships from the arts advocacy group: Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister for their radio documentary work, and filmmaker Heather Courtney.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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