The Academy of American Poets announced today that Li-Young Lee has chosen Leah Naomi Green as the winner of the 2019 Walt Whitman Award for her collection, The More Extravagant Feast. Green will receive $5,000, a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, and publication of her collection by Graywolf Press in April 2020. The Academy will also purchase and distribute thousands of copies of her book to its members.
“This book keeps faithful company with the world and earns its name,” says Lee. “The darkness and suffering of living on earth are assumed in this work, woven throughout the fabric of its lineated perceptions and insights, and yet it is ultimately informed by the deep logic of compassion (is there a deeper human logic?) and enacts the wisdom of desire and fecundity reconciled with knowledge of death and boundedness.”
Green lives in the Shenandoah Mountains where she teaches at Washington and Lee University. The author of the chapbook The Ones We Have (Flying Trout Press, 2012), she has published poems in Tin House, Southern Review, and Pleiades.
Established in 1975, the annual Walt Whitman Award is considered one of the most prestigious first-book contests in poetry. Recent winners of the prize include Emily Skaja for Brute, Jenny Xie for Eye Level, and Mai Der Vang for Afterland.