Academy of American Poets Announces $130,000 in Prizes to Poets

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Sep 19 2005

September 19, 2005 — The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce the recipients of three major awards for poetry, with a total of $130,000 bestowed upon the poets.

The winners are Gerald Stern (Wallace Stevens Award for proven mastery in the art of poetry, $100,000), Claudia Rankine (Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement at mid-career, $25,000), and Barbara Jane Reyes (James Laughlin Award for a second book, $5,000).

These three awards are among the Academy of American Poets’ seven major annual book awards. The recipients will be honored at the Academy’s awards ceremony on Thursday, November 3, 2005, at Lang Auditorium, New School, 55 West 13th Street, New York City, at 7:00 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.


Gerald Stern

Gerald Stern has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 Wallace Stevens Award. 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 jurors for 2005 were: Academy Chancellor Frank Bidart, Academy Chancellor Lucille Clifton, and the poets Toi Derricotte, Sharon Olds, and Kevin Young.

Mr. Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1925. His books of poetry include Last Blue: Poems (W.W. Norton & Company, 2000); This Time: New and Selected Poems (1998), which won the National Book Award; Odd Mercy (1995); Bread Without Sugar (1992), winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize; Leaving Another Kingdom: Selected Poems (1990); Two Long Poems (1990); Lovesick (1987); Paradise Poems (1984); The Red Coal (1981), which received the Melville Caine Award; Lucky Life, the 1977 Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets and nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; and Rejoicings (1973). His honors include the Paris Review’s Bernard F. Conners Award, the Bess Hokin Award from Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Prize, four National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prizew, the Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. For many years a teacher at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Mr. Stern lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, and New York City.

From the judge's citation for the Wallace Stevens Award:

"Gerald Stern has made an immense contribution to American poetry. His poems are not only great poems, memorable ones, but ones that get into your heart and stay there. Their lyrical ecstasies take you up for that moment so that your vision is changed, you are changed. The voice is intimate, someone unafraid to be imperfect. Gerald Stern’s poems sing in praise of the natural world, and in outrage of whatever is antihuman." —Toi Derricotte


Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 Academy Fellowship. The Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets has the distinction of being the first award of its kind in the United States. The Academy Fellowship, given in memory of James Ingram Merrill, is awarded to a poet for distinguished poetic achievement at mid-career and provides a stipend of $25,000. Fellows are nominated and elected by the Academy’s Board of Chancellors, a body of seventeen eminent poets.

Ms. Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (Graywolf, 2004), PLOT (2001); The End of the Alphabet (1998); and Nothing in Nature is Private (1995), which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. She is co-editor of American Women Poets in the Twenty-First Century (Wesleyan University Press). Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. Her poetry is also included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. She teaches in the writing program at the University of Houston.

From the judge’s citation for the Academy Fellowship:

“Claudia Rankine has made of her savage and stern intelligence, her ruthlessness and her terror, great art.” —Academy Chancellor Louise Glück


Barbara Jane Reyes

Barbara Jane Reyes has been selected as the recipient of the 2005 James Laughlin Award for her second collection of poems, Poeta en San Francisco (Tinfish Press). The James Laughlin Award is given to commend and support a poet’s second book of poetry. The award was established by a gift to the Academy from the Drue Heinz Trust in honor of the poet and publisher James Laughlin (1914–1997). Ms. Reyes will receive a cash prize of $5,000, and the Academy will purchase copies of Poeta en San Francisco for distribution to its members. This year’s judges were James Longenbach, Susan Stewart, and Elizabeth Alexander.

Ms. Reyes was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her undergraduate education at the University of California Berkeley and her MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at San Francisco State University. Her work was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and appears or is forthcoming in Asian Pacific American Journal, Chain, Interlope, Nocturnes (Re)view, North American Review, Tinfish, Versal, in the anthologies Babaylan (Aunt Lute, 2000), Eros Pinoy (Anvil, 2001), Going Home to a Landscape (Calyx, 2003), Not Home But Here (Anvil, 2003), Pinoy Poetics (Meritage, 2004), and forthcoming in Red Light: Superheroes, Saints and Sluts (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 2005), and Graphic Poetry (Hong Kong: Victionary, 2005). Her first book, Gravities of Center, was published by Arkipelago Books (San Francisco) in 2003.

From the judge’s citation for the James Laughlin Award:

“If William Blake were alive and well and sitting on a eucalyptus branch in the hills above the bay, this is the poetry he would aspire to write.” —James Longenbach


About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets, since 1934, has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, our award-winning website presenting a wealth of great poems, audio recordings, poet biographies, essays, and resources; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; and American Poet, a biannual journal published for the Academy’s 8,000 members. 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.

Contact:

Jennifer Kronovet
Awards Coordinator
Academy of American Poets
584 Broadway, Suite 604
New York, NY 10012
(212) 274-0343 ext. 17
jkronovet@poets.org
www.poets.org