New York, NY (September 18, 2012) – The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce the winners of its annual collection of poetry prizes. This year, the organization has awarded nearly $200,000 to poets at various stages of their careers. The recipients will be honored at the Academy’s Award Ceremony as part of the annual Poets Forum at The New School in New York City on October 19, 2012 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The awards recipients, along with the judges who selected them, are listed below. Further information is available upon request or at www.poets.org/awards.
Gary Snyder has received the WALLACE STEVENS AWARD, which 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. Recipients are nominated and elected by a majority vote of the Academy's Board of Chancellors. Past winners of the prize have included John Ashbery, W.S. Merwin, and Adrienne Rich.
Born in San Francisco in 1930, Snyder is a noted member of the Beat Generation of poets. He has published twenty-two books of poetry and prose, including his most recent volume of essays, Back on the Fire (Counterpoint, 2007). He has received both a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his poetry, as well as an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Bollingen Prize, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. After spending ten years in Kyoto immersing himself in the practice of Zen Buddhism, Snyder spent 16 years as a professor of English at the University of California, Davis. He was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2003 and served until 2009.
Academy of American Poets Chancellor Jane Hirshfield praised his selection saying: “Gary Snyder has brought to American poetry a lyric poem whose subjects and views are objectively epic. His words look into the world and our human lives with acuity, affection, and the ethics of a ten-thousand-year perception. They have altered and marked both how we know and how we say.”
Brenda Hillman has received the ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS FELLOWSHIP. Established in 1946, this prize recognizes distinguished poetic achievement and carries with it a stipend of $25,000. Fellows are nominated and elected by a majority vote of the Academy's Board of Chancellors. Past recipients include Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost, and Ezra Pound.
Brenda Hillman is the author of eight full-length collections from Wesleyan University Press, including Practical Water (2009); Loose Sugar (1997), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Bright Existence (1993), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has received awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Society of America, among others. Hillman teaches at St. Mary’s College of California where she is the Olivia C. Filippi Professor of Poetry.
About Brenda Hillman’s poems, Academy of American Poets Chancellor Sharon Olds said: “Linguistically, spatially, politically, emotionally, Brenda Hillman's brilliant poems are some of the most thrilling poems we have. Our I.Q.s and our Heart Q.s rise when we read her. Each line, each poem, each book, extraordinarily fresh and original, is minted alive before our eyes.”
David Wojahn’s book World Tree (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011) has received the LENORE MARSHALL POETRY PRIZE. Awarded since 1994, this $25,000 award recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year. Past recipients include Wanda Coleman, Mark Jarman, and Philip Levine. Judges were Linda Gregerson, David St. John, and current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.
Of the winning book, Linda Gregerson said, “David Wojahn’s World Tree is a book of consummate vision and artistry. Exquisitely cadenced, politically astute, large of heart, and keen of mind, these are poems of extraordinary moral penetration. They are also a joy to read: David Wojahn is working at the height of his powers.”
David Wojahn is the author of eight collections of poetry, including Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and others. He teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, and in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Catherine Barnett’s book The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press, 2012) has won the JAMES LAUGHLIN AWARD, the most prestigious prize for a second book of poetry in the United States. Offered since 1954 and endowed in 1995 by the Drue Heinz Trust, the annual award is named for the poet and publisher James Laughlin, founder of New Directions. The winning poet receives a cash prize of $5,000 and the Academy of American Poets distributes copies of the book to its thousands of members. Past recipients include Cornelius Eady, Donald Hall, and Tracy K. Smith. The judges were April Bernard, Cyrus Cassells, and Dana Levin.
April Bernard said of Barnett’s winning book: “With subtle and cumulative force, The Game of Boxes builds a complex poetic structure in which fundamental questions about motherhood, trust, eroticism, and spiritual meaning are posed and then set into motion in relation to one another. The mind is delighted, the spirit enthralled, by this wonderful book.”
Catherine Barnett is the author of a previous collection of poems, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James, 2004). She has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New York City, works as an independent editor, and teaches at The New School and New York University.
The following awards were announced earlier this year:
Jennifer Scappettone’s book Locomotrix: Selected Poetry and Prose, a translation of Amelia Rosselli (University of Chicago Press, 2012) won the RAIZISS / DE PALCHI TRANSLATION AWARD. Established in 1995, this prize recognizes outstanding translations of modern Italian poetry into English through a $10,000 book award and a $25,000 fellowship, which are given in alternating years. The fellowship winner also receives a residency at the American Academy in Rome. Judges were Geoffrey Brock, Victoria Surliuga, and Anthony Julian Tamburri.
Matt Rasmussen’s manuscript Black Aperture won the WALT WHITMAN AWARD. Established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets, the award includes first-book publication, a cash prize of $5,000, and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. The winning manuscript is published by Louisiana State University Press and the Academy distributes copies to its members. Jane Hirshfield judged.
Jen Hofer’s book Negro Marfil / Ivory Black, a translation of Myriam Moscona (Les Figues Press, 2011) won the HAROLD MORTON LANDON TRANSLATION AWARD. Founded in 1976, this $1,000 prize recognizes a published translation of poetry from any language into English. A noted translator chooses the winning book. This year’s judge was Pierre Joris.
In addition, the Academy of American Poets also sponsors over 200 annual COLLEGE PRIZES FOR POETRY, distributing close to $25,000 each year. Many of America's most esteemed poets won their first recognition through an Academy of American Poets College Prize, including Mark Doty, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Kimiko Hahn, Joy Harjo, Robert Hass, Li-Young Lee, Robert Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, and Mark Strand.
The Academy of American Poets is the largest member-supported nonprofit organization recognizing poets with annual awards in the United States. Since its creation in 1934, the Academy has worked to foster an appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. The Academy connects 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; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. For more information about the Academy of American Poets, visit www.poets.org.