On a quiet spring morning, Genaro Smith sat in his office working on a writing that could become his biggest accomplishment.
Smith, an English instructor, said he was recently awarded the ATLAS grant.
“The ATLAS grant is an award given by the state’s Board of Regents Support Fund to Louisiana artists and scholars,” Smith said.
The grant allows professors and researchers to receive funding while they are on leave for work to focus on their craft.
“The grant will pay half of my salary and Tech will pay the other half,” he said.
Smith said he applied for the grant in November and he found out the results during the first week of April.
He said he was awarded the grant last Friday to complete his poetry collection and an additional book.
“I will go on sabbatical this upcoming winter and spring quarters to work on the second book,” he said. “The collection is completed; I just have to revise it.”
Though Smith said he usually writes fiction, his interest in poetry began about two years ago and has led to a collection of 34 poems about his grandfather.
“My grandfather, a major commander for the South Vietnamese Army with seven wives and 27 children, was stripped of his wealth and sent to a re-education camp when the communists took over,” he said. “It’s like a biography of his childhood all the way through to his marriages and his time in a prison camp.”
Smith said the other book is a novel titled “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.”
“The other book is a collection of short stories from the point of view of Vietnamese characters,” he said.
Although Smith said he has had several short stories published, he said his decision to write a poetry collection came after a friend read a few of his poems.
“I wanted to write a novel first,” he said “Then Darrel Borque, who was the Louisiana Poet Laureate, read a couple and told me that I needed to complete them.”
Smith said Borque is the reason he completed the collection, while Ken Robinson, director of the school of performing arts, is the reason he applied for the grant.
Smith also said the process for the grant was extensive.
“I had to submit a letter of intent, fill out paper work, write a two-page artist statement detailing what I have accomplished and what I intend to do,” Smith said.
Smith said in addition to that he had to provide a letter of recommendation from Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau.
“All together I had to submit about 12 pages of work and a 20-page document of creative work,” Smith said.
Email comments to kms...@latech.edu.