SU Alumna Earns AWP Intro Journal Award


SALISBURY, MD—Salisbury University Alumna Emma DePanise ’18 recently was named SU’s first Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Intro Journal Award Winner.

Her winning poem, “This Motion, These Whispers” will be published in Quarterly West.  She received an honorable mention for her work “Elegy for a White-Noise Machine”.

DePanise was nominated by her professor and mentor, Dr. John Nieves, head of SU’s creative writing program. She will travel to San Antonio in 2020 to read her winning work at the yearly AWP conference.

“This Motion, These Whispers” is one in a series of poems centered on fountains, written as an assignment for one of Nieves’ fall classes. While others in the series were more literal, this work touched on the eerie history behind New York’s Washington Square Park fountain. The park itself lies on a 1797 potter’s field, where hundreds who died from yellow fever were buried.

DePanise said her writing has evolved since her start at SU. “At first I wrote about myself and my own experiences; now I’ve learned to expand that and look at obscure or random objects, to be creative and make something ordinary meaningful.”

She was the 2018 winner of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and a panelist at the prestigious Nimrod Literary Conference for Readers and Writers. Her work has been published in journals such as the Puerto del Sol, Plume Poetry and The National Poetry Review.

A professional writing consultant for the University Writing Center, she is taking Nieves’ graduate course in contemporary poetry. Next fall, she plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts and eventually teach.

For more information, call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at

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