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Galway Kinnell and Khaled Mattawa Receive Major Poetry Awards

 

New York, September 14—Galway Kinnell has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Khaled Mattawa has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Academy Fellowship. The Fellowship 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 fifteen eminent poets, selects the Wallace Stevens Award and Academy Fellowship recipients.

Galway Kinnell and Khaled Mattawa will be honored at the fourth annual Poets Forum, October 28-30, in New York City. They will read from their work at the Poets Awards Ceremony and be part of intimate panel discussions on contemporary poetry presented by the Academy of American Poets.

About Galway Kinnell's work, Academy Chancellor Sharon Olds says:

"With his music—the passion for consonants and the love of each vowel; with his poems' sense of being at home in the flesh, and in the woods, and in cities; with the high-wire daring and deep connectedness of his metaphor; with his devotion to justice, and his range of subjects, intimate and universal—Galway has given us a wide, dense, beautiful body of work, a rare store of pleasure and nourishment."

Galway Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1927. As a young man he served in the United States Navy and spent much of the 1960s involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He is the author of numerous books of poems including, Body Rags (Houghton Mifflin, 1968), The Book of Nightmares (1971), a book-length poem concerned with the Vietnam War, and Selected Poems (1980), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

Kinnell's many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Rockefeller Grant, the 1974 Shelley Prize of the Poetry Society of America, and the 1975 Medal of Merit from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007. Kinnell has also served as a poet-in-residence at numerous colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of California at Irvine, and Brandeis. He divides his time between Vermont and New York City, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University.

About a life in poetry, Galway Kinnell has said:

"Everyone knows that human existence is incomplete. Among those who are especially troubled by this are those who turn to writing. Writing is a way of trying to understand the incompleteness and, if not to heal it, at least to get beyond whatever is merely baffling and oppressive about it."

Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya in 1964 and immigrated to the U.S. in his teens. His collections of poetry include Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow, 1995), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable, 2003), Amorisco (2008) and Tocqueville (New Issues, 2010). Mattawa has also translated many volumes of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab American literature.

About Mattawa's work, Academy Chancellor Marilyn Hacker says:

"Khaled Mattawa is one of the most original, lyrical and intellectually challenging American poets of his generation. Toqueville is a book that is as daring in its amalgam of poetic techniques as it is dazzling and pertinent in the breadth of its subject-matter, while Amoriscos expands possibilities of the lyric in English with its historical and cultural reach. He is also one of the best translators of contemporary poetry working today, from Arabic or indeed any language—creating viable, memorable poems in the receptor language."

Mattawa's honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, and three Pushcart Prizes. He teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

About his poetic process, Mattawa has said:

"I'm still surprised by the urgent presence of the poem in me, sometimes well-shaped but often a foggy insistence that I must adhere to. I write what appears to be dictated to me, one phrase beckoning another. The beginning of a poem is often a series of directions to a place or a moment. I rework it slowly, adding, reducing, stopping and waiting for months, and changing tracks until the parameters of a landscape begin to show, which means that the poem has grown larger than my intentions."

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 Victor Hernandez Cruz, Rita Dove, Marilyn Hacker, Lyn Hejinian, Edward Hirsch, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Marie Ponsot, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, 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 are W. S. Merwin, James Tate, Adrienne Rich, Anthony Hecht, A. R. Ammons, Jackson Mac Low, Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Ruth Stone, Richard Wilbur, Mark Strand, Gerald Stern, Michael Palmer, Charles Simic, Louise Glück, and Jean Valentine.

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 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, Robert Hayden, and more recently Lyn Hejinian, Adrienne Rich, Denise Levertov, Jay Wright, Claudia Rankine, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and Harryette Mullen.

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; 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.




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