CMarie Fuhrman is Idaho’s current Writer in Residence. The Idaho Writer in Residence represents the highest literary recognition in the state and those who hold the position embody exceptional quality in their field. As part of her appointment Fuhrman travels throughout the state to conduct readings and talk about craft; she is available to participate in events and lead discussions at libraries, schools, community centers and for other lit-loving organizations and groups.
Would your community or group like to host Idaho’s Writer in Residence? Contact Jocelyn Robertson, Director of Literature, for more information.
CMarie Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath the Dam: Poems (Floodgate 2020) and co-editor of Native Voices (Tupelo 2019). She has published poetry and nonfiction in multiple journals including Emergence Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, Cutthroat a Journal of the Arts, Whitefish Review, Poetry Northwest, Platform Review, as well as several anthologies. CMarie is a regular columnist for the Inlander, translations editor for Broadsided Press, non-fiction editor for High Desert Journal, and Director of the Elk River Writers Workshop. She teaches nature writing and poetry for the low residency MFA at Western Colorado University. She resides in the mountains of West Central Idaho with her partner Caleb and their dogs Carhartt and Cisco.
History of the Idaho Writer in Residence
In 1923, spurred by the State Federation of Women’s Clubs and the State PTA, Governor C.C. Moore appointed Irene Grissom as Idaho’s first poet laureate—a life term. A native of Greeley, Colorado, and a graduate of Colorado State Teacher’s College, she wrote three novels and an equal number of verse collections with titles such as Verse of the New West (1931). Grissom lived near Idaho Falls until her death in 1946.
The position was vacant until 1949 when Governor C.A. Robins appointed Sudie Stuart Hager, an Oklahoman educated in Oregon who taught school in Kimberly, Idaho. Her best known collection was Earthbound (1947). Hager was the last of the laureates.
Following her death in 1982, Governor John Evans appointed a five-member panel of Idahoans, who were joined by western poets Brewster Ghiselin, Drummond Hadley, and William Stafford, to select a new laureate. Instead, the panel recommended the selection of a Writer in Residence to serve a two-year term; that the position be open to writers of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction; that the writer be required to give readings during his or her term; and that the writer be paid $5,000 annually. In 1983 their recommendations were adopted by an executive order establishing the Writer in Residence panel.
With guidance from the Governor’s panel, the program was initiated, developed, and administered by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities. Financial support was contributed by the Idaho Commission on the Arts, the Association for the Humanities (now the Idaho Humanities Council), and private gifts. In June 1986, program responsibility transferred to the Idaho Commission on the Arts. The award was for $10,000 over two years and required twelve readings. In 1998, the Commission extended the term to three years and because of budget cutbacks reduced the award to $4,400 annually. In 2020, the Commission reestablished the two-year term with an annual $5,000 award.
Selection of the writer is made from Idaho applicants whose anonymous writing samples are judged by a panel of out-of-state writers. Submissions are judged 85% for artistic excellence, 15% for contributions to the field. The panel makes recommendations to the Commission and the Governor approves the choice.
Writers in Residence include: Malia Collins, Boise (2020); Christian Winn, Boise (2017); Diane Raptosh, Boise (2014); William Johnson, Lewiston (2011); Anthony Doerr, Boise (2007); Kim Barnes, Moscow (2004); Jim Irons, Twin Falls (2001); William Johnson, Lewiston (1999); Lance Olsen, Moscow (1996); Clay Morgan, McCall (1994); Daryl Jones, Boise (1992); Neidy Messer, Boise (1990); Eberle Umbach, McCall (1988); Robert Wrigley, Lewiston (1986); Ron McFarland, Moscow (1984).