Mark Strand Receives the Wallace Stevens Award

Posted on

Oct 08 2004

New York, October 8, 2004--The Academy of American Poets announced today that Mark Strand has been selected as the recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award. Given annually, the $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. The judges for 2004 were Jonathan Aaron, Jane Hirshfield, Lynne McMahon, W. S. Di Piero, and Rosanna Warren.

Academy Chancellor and jury chair Rosanna Warren writes of Mark Strand's poetry:

Strand defined a particular, haunted sensibility, years ago, but he has continued to grow beyond his own early dreamscapes. His last three books blend elegiac fullness and tragicomic wit. The language is beautifuly poised, and is a deep instruction against self-pity. His work is unmistakable. It has become part of our landscape.

Mark Strand was born on Canada's Prince Edward Island in 1934, and was raised and educated in the United States. He is the author of ten books of poems, including Blizzard of One (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), which won the Pulitzer Prize; Dark Harbor (1993); The Continuous Life (1990); Selected Poems (1980); The Story of Our Lives (1973); and Reasons for Moving (1968). He has also published two books of prose, several volumes of translation (of works by Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, among others), several monographs on contemporary artists, and three books for children. He has edited a number of volumes, including The Golden Ecco Anthology (1994), The Best American Poetry 1991, and Another Republic: 17 European and South American Writers (with Charles Simic, 1976). His honors include the Bobbitt Prize, Bollingen Prize, three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Edgar Allen Poe Prize, and a Rockefeller Foundation award, as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. He has served as Poet Laureate of the United States and is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He currently teaches in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

The Wallace Stevens Award is given annually 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 are W. S. Merwin, James Tate, Adrienne Rich, Anthony Hecht, A. R. Ammons, Jackson Mac Low, Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Ruth Stone, and Richard Wilbur.

Wallace Stevens, one of the major American poets of the twentieth century, was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1879. After attending Harvard University, he received a law degree from New York Law School, and worked as a corporate lawyer at the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company from 1916 until his death in 1955. Harmonium, his first collection of poems, was published in 1923, but it was only very late in his life, after the publication of The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (1954), that his work began to receive broad attention and critical acclaim.

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. Through its awards program, the Academy awards well over $200,000 each year to individual poets. These awards include the Academy Fellowship, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the James Laughlin Award, the Walt Whitman Award, the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, student poetry prizes at nearly 200 colleges and universities, and the American Poets Fund.

Other programs of the Academy include National Poetry Month (April), the Online Poetry Classroom, the Poetry Audio Archive, and the award winning website Poets.org.