Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Poetry 1999

Gari Lutz

A close-up portrait of Gari Lutz wearing a gray t-shirt, thin black glasses, and reading from a paper in front of a brick wall. She looks down at the paper appearing deep in thought.
  • 1999 Grants to Artists
  • Poetry
  • Writer
  • Born Allentown, PA, 1955
  • Lives in Greensburg, PA

The grant encouraged me to depart more boldly from the conventions of the literary marketplace and to pursue my pieces as concentrations of verbal matter rather than as traditional narratives and stories.

- Gari Lutz, January 2000

Artist Statement

I am interested in prose and poetry in which virtually every sentence has the force and feel of a climax, in which almost every sentence is a vivid extremity of language, an abruption, a definitive inquietude. I am interested in steep verbal topographies, writing in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language—the sort of sentence that, even when liberated from its receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and the ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself. I am interested only in books that a reader can open to any page and find in every paragraph sentences that have been worked and reworked until their forms and contours and their organizations of sound have about them an air of having been foreordained—as if this combination of words could no longer be improved upon and has finished readying itself for infinity.

- 2014


Gari Lutz is a writer known for her short stories. With the support of her 1999 Grants to Artists award, she revised previous works and wrote new pieces. Stories in the Worst Way (1996, 2002, 2009), Partial List of People to Bleach (2007), and I Looked Alive (2003, 2010) were all FCPA-supported. She has since released Divorcer (2011), a collection of short stories.

Her work has also appeared in literary magazines and journals such as Tin House, Conjunctions, NOON, McSweeney's, The Believer, Chicago Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Denver Quarterly, The Quarterly, Salt Hill, New York Tyrant, Dominion Review, Mid-American Review, Post Road,, StoryQuarterly, and the Cimarron Review. Subsequent to receiving her 1999 Grants to Artists award, Lutz's work has been included in the anthologies Anchor Book of New American Short Stories (2004), Prose Poetry/Flash Fiction: An Anthology (2006), The Apocalypse Reader (2007), and A Best of Fence: The First Nine Years (2009).

Lutz received a B.A. from Kutztown State College in Pennsylvania in 1977 and an M.A. from Ohio University in 1979. She is the recipient of a 1996 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, in 2010 she was a writer in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, and she has also been a visiting writer at Syracuse University and the University of Kansas. From 1997-2000 she edited fiction for 5 Trope, an online journal of experimental poetry and prose. She is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

“This is Nice of You," from FCPA-supported work I Looked Alive, 2003 and 2010.
A book cover with the title and author's name written in all capital white letters against a background of a pink anatomical heart with a triangle pattern on it. The rest of the background is black.
Cover of FCPA-supported Partial List of People to Bleach, 2007.
A book cover with a drawing of a person laying on a rocky floor closing their eyes. The bottom of the cover repeats the title numerous times in gray against a gray background. The title is written one time in green alongside the author's name.
Cover of FCPA-supported I Looked Alive, 2003 and 2010.