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John Ashbery Selects Chris Hosea as 2013 Walt Whitman Award Recipient


New York, NY (April 10, 2013)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery has selected Chris Hosea as the recipient of the 2013 Walt Whitman Award, the Academy’s prestigious first book prize. As the winner of the Whitman Award, Hosea’s manuscript, Put Your Hands In, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2014 and the Academy of American Poets will purchase and distribute thousands of copies of the book to its members. Hosea will also receive $5,000 and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center.

Established in 1975, the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award is designed to encourage the work of emerging poets. Previous recipients include poets such as Nicole Cooley, Suji Kwock Kim, Eric Pankey, and Alberto Ríos.

About Chris Hosea’s poetry, John Ashbery said:

Exactly a century ago, the Armory Show brought European avant-garde art to New York. We are still experiencing its consequences. Among the works on view was Marcel Duchamp's notorious Nude Descending a Staircase, which a derisive critic wanted to rename, “Explosion in a Shingle Factory.” Both titles come to mind as one reads Chris Hosea's Put Your Hands In, which somehow subsumes derision and erotic energy and comes out on top. Maybe that's because ‘poetry is the cruelest month,’ as he says, correcting T.S. Eliot. Transfixed in mid-paroxysm, the poems also remind us of Samuel Beckett's line (in Watt): ‘The pain not yet pleasure, the pleasure not yet pain.’ One feels plunged in a wave of happening that is about to crest.

Chris Hosea was born in Princeton, New Jersey. He graduated from Harvard College with an AB cum laude in English and American Literature, and he earned an MFA at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Hosea’s poems have been published in Denver Quarterly, VOLT, 6x6, Iowa Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, and Web Conjunctions, among other magazines. Hosea is a senior copywriter at H4B Chelsea, an advertising agency, and is Principal of Chris Hosea Fine Arts. He lives in Brooklyn.

In 2012 the Academy of American Poets distributed nearly $200,000 to poets at various stages of their careers through their annual series of awards. Hosea and the Academy’s other 2013 prize recipients will be honored at the Academy’s Awards Ceremony, part of the annual Poets Forum at The New School in New York City, on October 25, 2013. The event is free and open to the public.

Further information is available upon request or visit

John Ashbery is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and has won nearly every major American award for poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize. His collection A Wave (1984) won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award; and Some Trees (1956) was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. Ashbery served as the poet laureate of New York State from 2001 to 2003.He was also the first English-language poet to win the Grand Prix de Biennales Internationales de Poésie (Brussels), and has also received the Bollingen Prize, the English Speaking Union Prize, the Feltrinelli Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, two Ingram Merrill Foundation grants, the MLA Common Wealth Award in Literature, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, the Frank O'Hara Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Fulbright Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Ashbery is currently the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr., Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. He divides his time between New York City and Hudson, New York.

The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. 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;, the Academy’s popular website; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, since its founding in 1934, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization.             

Contact: Stacy Lasner
Publicity & Outreach Coordinator
Academy of American Poets; (212) 274-0343 x22

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