Louise Glück and Brigit Pegeen Kelly Receive Major Poetry Awards

Posted on

Sep 02 2008

New York, September 2—Louise Glück has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Brigit Pegeen Kelly has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Academy Fellowship, which is awarded once a year to a poet for distinguished poetic achievement and provides a stipend of $25,000. The Academy’s Board of Chancellors, a body of fourteen eminent poets, selects the Wallace Stevens Award and Academy Fellowship recipients.

Of Louise Glück’s work, Academy Chancellor Robert Pinsky said:

Louise sometimes uses language so plain it can almost seem like someone is speaking to you spontaneously—but it’s always intensely distinguished…There’s always a surprise in Louise’s writing; in every turn, every sentence, every line, something goes somewhere a little different, or very different, from where you thought it would.

Louise Glück was born in New York City in 1943 and grew up on Long Island. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Averno (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), The Seven Ages (Ecco, 2001), Vita Nova (1999), Meadowlands (1996), The Wild Iris (1992), Ararat (1990), and The Triumph of Achilles (1985). She has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994).

Her many honors include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry. In 2003, she was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress. She currently is a writer-in-residence at Yale University, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

About writing poetry, Louise Glück wrote:

The world is complete without us. Intolerable fact. To which the poet responds by rebelling, wanting to prove otherwise... The poet lives in chronic dispute with fact, and an astonishment occurs: another fact is created, like a new element, in partial contradiction of the intolerable.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly was born in Palo Alto, California, in 1951. She is the author of The Orchard (BOA Editions, 2004), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and the National Book Circle Critics Award in Poetry; Song (1995), which was the 1994 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets; and To The Place of Trumpets (Yale University Press, 1988), which was selected by James Merrill for the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

About Kelly’s work, Academy Chancellor Carl Phillips said:

In the course of her three books, Brigit Kelly has shaped a poetry and vision that demand to be taken on their own terms—which is to say, there's an originality that is everywhere unmistakable. Her sentences shuttle steadily back and forth to produce a tapestry-like meditation that throws into arresting—often disturbing—relief a world that lies “beyond the report of beauty,” where cruelty and sweetness are easily, perhaps necessarily, confusable for one another, a world whose topography is at once mythic, recognizable, and utterly Kelly’s own.

Kelly’s additional honors include a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the Cecil Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Pushcart Prize, the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, and a Whiting Writers Award. Kelly, who has taught for many years primarily at the University of Illinois, has also taught at the University of California at Irvine, Purdue University, and Warren Wilson College. In 2002 the University of Illinois presented her with two awards for excellence in teaching.

Louise Glück and Brigit Pegeen Kelly will be participating in the Poets Forum (November 6-8 in New York City) where they will read from their work at the Poets Awards Ceremony. Louise Glück will also be part of panel discussions on contemporary poetry presented by the Academy of American Poets. For more information, please visit www.poets.org/poetsforum.

The Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets
The Wallace Stevens Award and Academy Fellowship recipients are nominated and elected by the Academy’s Board of Chancellors. The current Chancellors are Frank Bidart, Victor Hernández Cruz, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C.K. Williams.

About the Wallace Stevens Award
The Wallace Stevens Award is given annually by the Academy of American Poets to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Established in 1994, the award carries a stipend of $100,000. The previous recipients include W. S. Merwin, James Tate, Adrienne Rich, A. R. Ammons, Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Richard Wilbur, Mark Strand, Gerald Stern, Michael Palmer, and Charles Simic.

About the Academy Fellowship
The Academy of American Poets established its Fellowship in 1937. It was the very first cash award given annually to an American poet and carries a stipend of $25,000. It is given in memory of James Ingram Merrill. Former fellows include Gwendolyn Brooks, E. E. Cummings, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, Denise Levertov, Robert Hayden, and more recently Lyn Hejinian, Adrienne Rich, Jay Wright, and Claudia Rankine.

About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web, presenting a wealth of great poems, audio recordings, poet biographies, essays, and interactive discussions about poetry; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and our annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org/awards.