The Academy of American Poets announced yesterday the recipients of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Prizes, which honor poets at various stages in their careers. The organization awarded more than $200,000 in prizes this year to poets including Joy Harjo, Marie Howe, Kevin Young, Todd Portnowitz, Kathryn Nuernberger, and Roger Greenwald.
Joy Harjo received this year’s Wallace Stevens Award, given annually in recognition of “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” The award, established in 1994, carries a $100,000 stipend. Past winners include John Ashbery, James Tate, and Adrienne Rich. Harjo is the author of several poetry collections, most recently Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (Norton, 2015). Harjo was chosen by the Academy’s Board of Chancellors; Academy chancellor Alicia Ostriker said of Harjo, “Her visionary justice-seeking art transforms personal and collective bitterness to beauty, fragmentation to wholeness, and trauma to healing.”
Marie Howe received the 2015 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, an annual prize of $25,000 given for “distinguished poetic achievement.” The winner is nominated and chosen by the Board of Chancellors. Howe is the author of three poetry collections, most recently The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (Norton, 2009). Academy chancellor Arthur Sze said, “[Howe’s] poems are acclaimed for writing through loss with verve, but they also find the miraculous in the ordinary and transform quotidian incidents into enduring revelation.”
Kevin Young won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for his collection Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014). The $25,000 prize is given annually for a poetry collection published in the United States during the previous year. Marie Howe, A. Van Jordan, and Donald Revell judged. Jordan said, “Book of Hours exemplifies what poetry can do in the world when language works at its full power.”
Todd Portnowitz received the Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Fellowship for his translation from the Italian of of poet Pierluigi Cappello’s Go Tell It to the Emperor: Selected Poems. The biennial fellowship recognizes “outstanding translations of modern Italian poetry into English,” and offers an award of $25,000 and a five-week residency at the American Academy in Rome. Adria Bernardi, Luigi Fontanella, and Giuseppe Leporace judged. “Portnowitz, in his tireless and remarkably refined effort," said Leporace, "has brilliantly grasped and then seamlessly transposed into English all the imagery and linguistic complexities contained in the work at hand.”
Kathryn Nuernberger is the recipient of the James Laughlin Award for her poetry collection The End of Pink (BOA Editions, 2016). The annual prize recognizes a “superior second book of poetry by an American poet,” and carries with it a cash award of $5,000, as well as a weeklong residency at the Betsy Hotel in Miami. Roger Greenwald won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award for his book Guarding the Air: Selected Poems by Gunner Harding (Black Widow Press, 2014). Bill Johnston judged. The $1,000 award is given annually for a poetry collection translated from any language into English that was published during the previous year.
Established in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the largest nonprofit organization supporting the work of American poets.
Photos: Joy Harjo, Marie Howe (credit: Benjamin Norman), Kevin Young