New York City – April 6, 2011 – Poets & Writers, Inc. announced today that James Richardson is the fifth winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize. The $50,000 prize is given annually to honor an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition. The award is designed to provide what all poets need: time and the encouragement to write.
Mr. Richardson was selected by three esteemed judges—the poets Mark Doty, Rita Dove, and Gerald Stern. There was no application process. Poets were nominated by a panel of their peers who remain anonymous. The judges’ citation reads as follows:
Distinct, lively, and apparently effortless, James Richardson’s voice has evolved, over the course of seven books, into a remarkable presence in contemporary poetry. Richardson is a moral philosopher and a student of science; his formal and intellectual rigor is matched by the compassion with which he examines our complex negotiation with love and time, illuminating our sense of ourselves. A master of concision, he has breathed new life into the art of the aphorism—becoming, in these masterful, tiny poems, a 21st century American Heraclitus.
Richardson’s most recent books are By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms (Copper Canyon, 2010), which was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award, Interglacial: New and Selected Poems and Aphorisms (Ausable, 2004), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (Ausable, 2001). His work has appeared in periodicals such as the New Yorker and the Paris Review, and has been included in several recent editions of The Best American Poetry, among other anthologies. He is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1980.
The Jackson Poetry Prize, which is sponsored by Poets & Writers, is made possible by a donation from the Liana Foundation and named for the John and Susan Jackson family. It is one of the most substantial awards given to an American poet. Previous recipients of the prize are Harryette Mullen (2010), Linda Gregg (2009), Tony Hoagland (2008), and Elizabeth Alexander (2007).