Fellowship Award

Fellowship Award


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Grue was born in Plaquemine, and has lived in New Orleans since she was 14. She graduated

from the University of New Orleans and received her masters degree in creative writing

from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.



Books by Lee Meitzen Grue

Goodbye Silver, Silver Cloud  /  In the Sweet Balance of the Flesh   / French Quarter Poems  / Three Poets in New Orleans  / Downtown

CD Live! On Frenchmen Street

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Local Writer Awarded $20,000 Fellowship

By Bob Ross, Staff Writer

The Times-Picayune/The States-Item

A year ago, New Orleans poet and writer Lee H. Grue sent a sample of her writing to New York to enter a national fellowship endowment, awarded to creative writers.

Three days ago, Grue received what she thought was an application to apply for the next year’s fellowship. Instead, she learned that she will receive $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to help boost her writing career.

Grue was one of 100 writers selected from 30 states to receive the fellowships, which totaled $2 million. Another Louisiana writer, Sandra B. Alcosser of Baton Rouge, also received a fellowship.

The purpose of the award, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, is to enable published writers of exceptional talent to set aside time for writing, research, or travel.

The winners were chosen from more than 2,000 applicants.

“When I saw the letter in the mail, it was the same kind of envelope that the application for the fellowship comes in,” Grue said Sunday. “I read my other mail and then opened it up. It caught me completely off guard.”

Grue was born in Plaquemine, and has lived in New Orleans since she was 14. She graduated from the University of New Orleans and received her masters degree in creative writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.

She is married to Capt. Reginald Grue, a river port pilot, and has three children, raising from 14 to 19 years old.

Grue said she and her husband celebrated the news with beer and pizza that night. She isn’t sure yet what she will do with the money, but hopes some of it can ease the burden of putting children through college.

She also is thinking of taking a trip to Mexico, to the Mayan ruins. “We’ve been there hiking before and I’ve often thought it would be a wonderful setting for a poem or story.”

Grue said New Orleans plays a prominent role in her writing and a collection of her poetry, French Quarter Poems, is being sold around the city.

Grue said she only needs to fill out a form accepting the award, and a check will be sent to her. News of the fellowship already has boosted her career, she said.

“The other day I got a call from a publisher from New York, about a collection of short stories I have. That’s one more call than I had before.”

The endowment comes from an independent federal agency, which gave $1.6 million to writers in 1984. Since it was established in 1965, the endowment has given fellowships to hundreds of writers.

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By Lee Meitzen Grue

Lee Grue is arguably one of the finest practitioners of poetry in New Orleans’ storied history. These superb writs are equal to the upwelling of jazz itself: from Tremé street corners, to the wayward French Quarter, to the carefree vibes of Bywater, all the way to back o’ town; this astonishing collection speaks from a mythic pantheon off yowls & beats as timeless as the Crescent City herself. “If you’re missing New Orleans, and you know what that means, you need to read Grue’s book front to back, place by place, time by time, name by name, everything that breaks your broken heart and asks it to sing. A generous, loving tribute to poetry and to New Orleans”—Dara Wier

 “Lee Grue’s work is one of the majestic pylons that keeps New Orleans above water, a pylon woven thickly and subtly from the city’s history. Her poetry weaves her personal history to the five centuries of the city’s own, a fabric stronger than the dreams of engineers. Lee Grue holds us all on the warm open hand of her music; she emanates the love that raises the soul levees”—Andrei Codrescu

Lee Meitzen Grue was born in Plaquemine, Louisiana, a small town upriver. New Orleans has been home for most of her life. She began reading her poetry at The Quorum Club during the early sixties. There she met musicians Eluard Burt and Maurice Martinez (bandleader Marty Most). Burt had just come back to New Orleans from San Francisco, where he had been influenced by the Beats. Eluard Burt and Lee Grue continued to work together over many years. Burt and his photographer wife, Kichea Burt, came home to New Orleans from California again in the nineties, where the three collaborated on a CD, Live! on Frenchmen Street. Eluard Burt passed in 2007.

Kichea Burt contributed some of the photographs in Grue’s book DOWNTOWN. During the intervening years Grue reared children, directed The New Orleans Poetry Forum workshop, and NEA poetry readings in the Backyard Poetry Theater. In 1982 she began editing New Laurel Review, an independent international literary journal which is still published today. She has lived downtown in the Bywater for thirty-five years. After the flood of 2005 she began teaching fiction and poetry at the Alvar Library, which is three blocks from her house. Her other books are: Trains and Other Intrusions, French Quarter Poems,  In the Sweet Balance of the Flesh, and Goodbye Silver, Silver Cloud, short fiction.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 8 July 2008



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