The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine have announced the winners of the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships. The prestigious $15,000 awards are given annually to five emerging United States poets between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one.
The 2012 fellows are: Reginald Dwayne Betts, the author of a poetry collection, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010), and a memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison (Avery, 2009); Nicholas Friedman, a lecturer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; Richie Hofmann, who has received an Academy of American Poets Prize and the AWP Intro Journal Award for Poetry; Rickey Laurentiis, whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, the Indiana Review, and jubilat; and Jacob Saenz, who received the Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship in 2011 and is currently an associate editor of the poetry magazine RHINO.
The editors of Poetry magazine chose the winning manuscripts from more than a thousand submissions. On the Poetry Foundation website, editor Christian Wiman said of the winners, “The history of Poetry is filled with some of the best-known names in American poetry; my guess is that these young poets will be among those we'll be talking about in the years to come.”
The five Ruth Lilly Fellows will have their work featured in the November issue of Poetry and on the Poetry Foundation website.
Established in 1989 by philanthropist Ruth Lilly to “encourage the further writing and study of poetry,” the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program gives $75,000 in fellowship prizes each year. The program is operated by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation, which also publishes Poetry magazine.
Founded by poet, editor, and literary scholar Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly magazine dedicated to the form. The magazine has published the work of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Carl Sandburg, among many other distinguished poets, as well as numerous emerging writers. The Poetry Foundation is a literary organization that “exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.”