Anne Pierson Wiese Receives the 2006 Walt Whitman Award

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May 15 2006

New York, May 15— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Anne Pierson Wiese has won the 2006 Walt Whitman Award for her first book-length collection of poems, Floating City, which will be published in the spring of 2007 by Louisiana State University Press. The winning manuscript was chosen by Kay Ryan from over 1,250 entries in an open competition. The Academy of American Poets has awarded Ms. Wiese a $5,000 cash prize and will purchase copies of her book for distribution to its members. She will also receive a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. The runner-up was Kevin McFadden for his manuscript Hardscrabble.

On selecting Ms. Wiese’s manuscript for the award, Kay Ryan wrote:

This remarkable book is proof that a light hand is the most masterful. Anne Pierson Wiese’s poems read so easily and pleasurably that one hardly realizes one has been confidently moved to a slightly different dimension, a world resembling ours but better observed, and quieter — in the best sense. Wiese understands the virtue of restraint — how the right word, the exact detail, clarity of form, invite the mind instead of stunning it. This is completely accomplished poetry of a very brave kind, daring to be immodestly good — modestly.

Anne Pierson Wiese was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Amherst College and the New York University Graduate Writing Workshop, and currently lives and works in New York City. Wiese received a 2005 Fellowship in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and was a winner of the 2004 "Discovery" / The Nation Poetry Contest. Wiese’s poems have appeared in many journals, including The Nation, Prarie Schooner, Raritan, Atlanta Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, Rattapallax, The Carolina Quarterly, The Hawai’i Pacific Review, and elsewhere. Her work will also appear in the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn.

Kay Ryan was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UCLA. Ryan has published several collections of poetry, including The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005); Say Uncle (2000); Elephant Rocks (1996); Flamingo Watching (1994), which was a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Strangely Marked Metal (1985); and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983). Ryan’s awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and three Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and was included in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988 – 1997. Ryan was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006. Since 1971, she has lived in Marin County in California.

Established in 1935, Louisiana State University Press is one of the oldest and largest university presses in the South and one of the outstanding publishers of scholarly and regional books in the country. Its long-standing commitment to publishing fine contemporary poetry extends back more than four decades. Since 1964 the Press has published more than 250 books of poetry by more than 100 poets, and many of these volumes have received distinguished honors, including the Lamont Poetry Selection, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Poets’ Prize, the American Book Award, the National Book Award, and two Pulitzer Prizes.

The Vermont Studio Center offers four-to-twelve-week studio residencies year-round to mid-career poets, painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers, and writers. The setting is the banks of the Gihon River in rural Johnson, Vermont, a town of 2,500 located in the heart of the northern Green Mountains. Each Studio Center Residency features abundant working time, the companionship of fifty artists and writers from across the country and around the world, and access to a roster of prominent visiting artists and writers. All residencies include comfortable housing, private studio space, and superb food. Two visiting writers per month are in residence at the Studio Center for one week each to offer readings, a craft talk, and optional conferences with each of the twelve writing residents.

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. Through its awards program, the Academy awards well over $200,000 each year to individual poets. These awards include the Academy Fellowship, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the James Laughlin Award, the Walt Whitman Award, the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, student poetry prizes at nearly 200 colleges and universities, and the American Poets Fund. The Academy also administers National Poetry Month (April), the Online Poetry Classroom, the Poetry Audio Archive, and, our award-winning website.