Pen Name: None
Born: in Elgin, Illinois
Virginia was born in Elgin, Illinois. She lived in East Dundee and then moved to Cary when she was five years old. She also lived for short periods of time with her parents in Ingleside after they had moved there in 1974.
Biographical and Professional Information
Dr. Virginia Gilbert has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing-Poetry and English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and a B. A. in English from Iowa Wesleyan College.
A chapbook, To Keep at Bay the Hounds, was published by the Nebraska Poets' Association in 1984. A second chapbook, The Earth Above, is now also available from Catamount Press, and her first full length book of poems, That Other Brightness, is published by Black Star Press. Dr. Gilbert’s latest chapbook, Greatest Hits, was published by Pudding House Press in May, 2004.
She is a recipient, among other awards, of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a 2009-2010 Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature for poetry, a 2006 Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Title III Faculty Development grant, a Second Place Hackney Award, and a 1992 First Place Sakura Festival Haiku Contest Award. She was also the 2001 Alabama Poet of the Year, and won First Place in the Alabama State Poetry Society’s first Poetry Slam in 1998. Her poems have appeared in many publications including Claiming the Spirit Within, I Hear My Sisters Saying, Alabama Women Speak, Beloit Poetry Journal, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, and MSS.
Gilbert also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1971-73 in the Republic of South Korea and as a teacher of English in Iran where she was evacuated during the Islamic Revolution in the late seventies. In the summer of 1993, she was a Fulbright scholar in China, and during the 1997-98 academic year, she was a member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation's Speaker Bureau, talking about the history of poetry in the state of Alabama in a presentation called "The Transformation of a State Through Poetry." Recently, she was a consultant for a book on Alabama Poet Laureates, and was an advisor for the fine arts magazine, The American Muse.
Besides being a poet, Gilbert is also a noted photographer, having won a number of local, national and international awards including a Special Merit Award--Kodak International Newspaper Snapshot Award for 1986 and "The Best Nebraska Entrant" in the Seventh Annual Cornhusker International Exhibition of Photography.
Currently, Gilbert is Professor Emerita of English at Alabama A & M University, and was its long time Director of its Program in Creative Writing and its reading series. She is also a past President of the Huntsville, Alabama, Photographic Society and a past President of the Huntsville branch of The National League of American Pen Women. Recently, she was the Secretary to the Arts Council of Huntsville, Alabama.
That Other Brightness, Black Star Press, 1996
Titles for Purchase and at Your Library
That Other Brightness
Release Date: 1995
Gilbert is a recipient, among other awards, of a 2009-2010 Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature for poetry, a Second Place Hackney Award, and a 1992 First Place Sakura Festival Haiku Contest Award.
She was also the 2001 Alabama Poet of the Year, and won First Place in the Alabama State Poetry Society’s first Poetry Slam in 1998.
In 1976, Gilbert received the National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant for Poetry.
Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances
Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)
Readings - $1,000 plus expenses
Workshops - $1,000 plus expenses
Writer-in-Residence - negotiable
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