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Awardee: Matt Donovan

Performing Arts, 2016

Matt Donovan is the author of two collections of poetry Ten Burnt Lakes (forthcoming, Tupelo Press, 2017) and Vellum (Mariner, 2007), as well as the collection of lyric essays A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity University Press, 2016). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including AGNI, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Threepenny Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. Donovan is the recipient of a Rome Prize in Literature, a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Larry Levis Reading Prize, a Breadloaf Fellowship in poetry, and a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship. Donovan received his MA from Lancaster University and his MFA from New York University. He teaches in the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

http://www.mattdonovanwriting.com

Project: Inheritance

Inheritance is a chamber opera designed for a lead soprano plus three female voices and a chamber ensemble. This opera’s production will be housed within a multimedia environment that examines gun culture in America through the lens of Sarah Winchester’s life. According to popular belief, Winchester was an eccentric widow self-imprisoned in her labyrinth-like home and seeking refuge from the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. The legend surrounding her life, impossible to extract from her actual history, is indicative of America’s inability to separate fact and fiction within gun-debate discourse. Although the libretto for Inheritance is anchored in Winchester’s biography, this work explores her life and home as a metaphor for America’s violent legacy and deeply complex relationship with guns.