Foundation of Contemporary Arts Announces New $40,000 Poetry Award

The Foundation of Contemporary Arts (FCA) has announced the new C. D. Wright Award for Poetry, an annual prize of $40,000 given to a poet over the age of fifty whose work “exemplifies Wright’s vibrant lyricism, seriousness, and striking originality."

The award, made possible through a $1 million gift from artists Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear, honors the memory of C. D. Wright, who died in 2016 at age sixty-seven. Wright received an FCA Grant in 1999, and went on to receive a MacArthur “Genius” Award, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize, among other accolades.

Of the prize, Wright’s husband, the poet Forrest Gander, said, “I’ve known that she was of signal importance to poets around the world—the first tribute/memorial organized for C. D. was in Stockholm—but the fact of this award coming from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, an advocate for all arts, that means the most to me.”

The C. D. Wright Award will be administered through the FCA’s nomination-based Grants to Artists program, which provides unrestricted cash awards to individuals in all artistic disciplines. Experimental poet Lisa Robertson will be the recipient of the inaugural award. Poets Tonya Foster and Peter Gizzi, the 2018 poetry advisors to FCA’s selection process, noted, “[Robertson’s] poems are compelling reads and never stint on intellection. They please as they muse and weave various affective philosophical speech acts.”

Founded in 1963 by artists Jasper Johns and John Cage, the Foundation of Contemporary Arts’ mission is to “encourage, sponsor, and promote innovative work in the arts” through its seven annual grant programs for individuals, groups, and organizations. Visit the website for more information.