Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Academy of American Poets 2011 Award Recipients

The Academy of American Poets announced the line-up of 2011 award recipients:

The Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets have selected Yusef Komunyakaa as the recipient of the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award; the $100,000 prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.

"My work is informed by the imagination, and that is more than merely autobiographical. I think it all connects to an image. I rely heavily on an image. And I suppose if it's autobiographical because it comes from within one, then everything is autobiographical in that sense. There are certain things that beckon to each of us."

About Yusef Komunyakaa's work, Academy Chancellor Lyn Hejinian wrote:
"A poet of delicate innuendo and unembittered honesty, Yusef Komunyakaa has done honor to the craft and possibility of poetry in America and to any and all who refuse to make it anything but great."

The Academy's Board of Chancellors has selected Joan Larkin as the recipient of the 2011 Academy Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded once a year to a poet for distinguished poetic achievement and provides a stipend of $25,000.

"I'm moved when words on a page deliver the sense of a unique voice. When Keats, in the urgent fragment that begins 'This living hand,' writes 'See here it is—I hold it towards you,' the barrier of time disappears. I have an immediate physical and emotional experience, a fresh encounter. This is why I go back to poetry again and again—to have that encounter."

About Larkin's work, Academy Chancellor Juan Felipe Herrera wrote:
"It is a solo campaign with 'no magicians no gifts no ideas,' a jagged journey where full life abides, brutal seeing abides, body hurt compassion abides, not the easy tra-la-la kind you were thinking of, but an incredible tangled-up, untangled kind that can only unfold freedom out of its own ashes, so then it takes flight—a kind of 'God of Breath,' scar-crossed, multi-voice-sparked—without boundary. Joan Larkin is a major literary force of the twenty-first century."

Poets Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, D.A. Powell, and Martha Ronk chose C.D. Wright's One With Others (Copper Canyon Press) to receive the 2011 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which awards $25,000 to the most outstanding book of poetry published in the previous year. "Poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so."

About Wright's winning book, judge Martha Ronk remarked:
"'Nothing is not integral.' This phrase near the end of C.D. Wright's One With Others characterizes both the book itself and a reader's immersion in it. Navigation between document and lyric forms the fabric of this passionate, funny, and elegiac book, a personal account of her mentor, 'V,' mad for T.S. Eliot and bourbon and cigarettes and justice, who, as the lone white woman, joins the protest walk led by 'Sweet Willie Wine' through towns in the Arkansas delta, 1969."

Charles Martin has selected Jeffrey Angles as the recipient of the 2011 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, recognizing his translation of Tada Chimako's Forest of Eyes (University of California Press). The award is given to the best book of poetry translated from any language into English published in the previous year and carries a prize of $1,000.

On selecting this volume for the award, Charles Martin wrote:
"Jeffrey Angles's skillful new translation, Forest of Eyes: Selected Poems of Tada Chimako, brings into English for the first time a generous selection from the work of this important twentieth-century Japanese poet. New readers of Tada will discover in her verse a poet both erudite and passionate, a master of traditional Japanese forms and, at the same time, a cosmopolitan modernist as taken by the construction of invisible cities as Calvino, and as drawn to the exploration of forking paths as Borges."

Judges Thomas Harrison, Jane Tylus, and Paolo Valesio chose Dominic Siracusa as the winner of the Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship for his translations of Emilio Villa. This $25,000 award is given every other year to enable an American translator to travel, study, or otherwise advance a significant in-progress translation of modern Italian poetry.

On selecting the manuscript for the fellowship, Paolo Valesio wrote:
"Dominic Siracusa is a courageous and energetic translator. His dynamism is essential for the effective translation of Emilio Villa's complex poems that are always in motion, and for faithfully reproducing the consistent thread of thought running through the texts. As Polonius famously surmised, 'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.' Siracusa nimbly follows the textual slippings and slidings from erudite quotes through folksy references to Italian-Milanese colloquialisms to lyric outbursts, thereby bringing to English a fascinating blend of Italian experimental poetry."

Poets Juliana Spahr, Brian Teare, and Mónica de la Torre chose Anna Moschovakis's collection You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake (Coffee House Press) to receive the 2011 James Laughlin Award, which gives $5,000 to the most outstanding second book by an American poet in the previous year.

About the selection, Brian Teare said: "This ambitious and compassionate book also believes—or hopes—that mindful attention to language might happily lead us elsewhere, toward other economies, other ways of being here together. 'One letter at a time we build relationships,' Moschovakis declares, 'even though the letter is only a virtual letter and the labor, such as it is, is free.'"

The poet Fanny Howe selected Elana Bell as the recipient of the 2011 Walt Whitman Award for her manuscript Eyes, Stones. One of the most prestigious first book prizes in the country, the award includes publication of one book, along with a $5,000 cash prize and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center.

About the selection, Fanny Howe wrote:
"Elana Bell has undertaken a task many others have avoided: facing the agony of the Palestine-Israel conflict and its history. She has done so in the only way it is possible: by writing with the detached but compassionate voice of a translator. She gives her voice over to others without changing her vocabulary or her beat, and in this way excludes herself from the subject matter."

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