BENNINGTON, Vt, September 10, 2007 —Bennington alumna Valerie Wetlaufer ’05 and current student Amanda Auchter MFA ’08 are two of just twelve finalists left in the running for the prestigious Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship. Given annually to two promising young poets, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships are awarded through a national competition open to undergraduate and graduate students in creative writing or English who are enrolled in a university or college at the time of the application. The Fellowship is particularly prominent in that they each carry an award of $15,000, which is among the largest prizes offered for aspiring writers in the United States.
Organized by the Poetry Foundation, The Fellowship invites college and university writing and literature department chairs to nominate their most promising writing student, each year. This year, Bennington’s Graduate Writing Seminars core poetry faculty member Amy Gerstler nominated Auchter—Editor of Pebble Lake Review and author of the chapbook Light Under Skin. “Amanda is a dedicated lyric poet.” Gerstler continues, “Her work is full of passionate intelligence and grace, which she approaches with great energy and diligence.”
After graduating from Bennington, Valerie Wetlaufer ’05 went on to continue her studies at Florida State University, where she was selected by the University’s writing faculty for consideration, accompanying Auchter on the shortlist of finalist.
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Bennington College (), a nationally recognized liberal arts college with enrollment of 720 students (570 undergraduate, 150 graduate) is located on 470 acres in the Green Mountains of southwestern Vermont. The College offers a full range of study, with programs in the humanities, natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and visual and performing arts, as well as a five-year Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Teaching. Additional graduate programs include a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, a Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts, and a Master of Arts in Teaching a Second Language.