The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices
For this anthology, acclaimed poet Mark Doty has selected 68 poems from among ten years of contest winners, including work by Francisco Aragon, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Jennifer Chang, Katie Ford, Alex Lemon, and Cate Marvin.
"Mark Doty has put together a selection of poems that includes so many poets I didn't know in my twenties, who are such important parts of my writing life now," says Gabrielle Calvocoressi. "He seems to have heard us all talking to each other before we knew we were. Which is the mark of a great teacher and a great poet: to blaze a trail for us to come forward and to remind us of who we were."
In his introduction to the anthology, Doty writes:
I was myself the recipient of one of these prizes, in 1971. I felt the good things that a prize makes a young poet feel: heartened, a little more brave, confirmed in the notion that...my private scratchings and fumblings might become, if I could find ways to shape them, something that could speak to someone else.
The Academy of American Poets established its University and College Poetry Prize program in 1955 at ten schools. The Academy now sponsors nearly 180 annual prizes for poetry at colleges and universities nationwide, and has awarded more than $350,000 to nearly 10,000 student poets since the program's inception.
Many of America's most esteemed poets won their first recognition through an Academy College Prize, including Diane Ackerman, Toi Derricotte, Mark Doty, Alice Fulton, Tess Gallagher, Louise Gluck, Allen Grossman, Jorie Graham, Kimiko Hahn, Joy Harjo, Robert Hass, Li-Young Lee, Brad Leithauser, J. D. McClatchy, Heather McHugh, Gregory Orr, Robert Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, Mark Rudman, Mary Jo Salter, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, George Starbuck, Mark Strand, and Charles Wright.